October 26,2010

Grassley Expresses Concern Over Whether National Cancer Institute Unfairly Disciplined Ethics Office for Employee Travel Scrutiny

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley is expressing concern over whether the National Cancer Institute unfairly disciplined its ethics director for trying to make sure agency travel complies with federal law and procedures, including those set by the institute’s parent agency, the National Institutes of Health.  The travel at issue is sponsored by non-government sources, such as corporations and other private entities.

“Some government agencies have more travel than others.  They should be used to transparency and scrutiny to make sure they follow the rules,” Grassley said.  “National Cancer Institute executives appear to have taken issue with the scrutiny to sponsored travel given by their then-chief ethics officer.  It’s important to get to the bottom of whether the ethics officer was retaliated against just for doing her job.” 

Grassley wrote to the director of the National Institutes of Health and the director of the National Cancer Institute, seeking details of National Cancer Institute employees’ sponsored travel.  He asked the National Cancer Institute to conduct an internal review of whether it has furnished all required information to the Office of Government Ethics and copied the Office of Government Ethics.  Grassley also reminded the National Cancer Institute that interfering with federal employees’ rights to furnish information to Congress is a violation of federal law.