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Lobby Rules

The chair of the US House of Representatives appropriations subcommittee Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) says that some grants funded by the National Institutes of Health violate the prohibition against lobbying, ScienceInsider reports. In a letter to NIH Director Francis Collins, Kingston points out what he terms "questionable grants," including one that he says may sponsor an advocacy group. He says such grants need to be investigated.

That particular grant, ScienceInsider adds, is a one-year grant to George Mason University's Catherine Gallagher, a criminologist who is studying medical issues facing young prison inmates. Her grant abstract says her work "is intended to engage the medical, public health, criminal justice, policy, legal and advocacy communities by uniting diverse disciplines around a common issue." And Kingston says that such research as well as other examples he gives are not core to the NIH mission.

Kingston's questions aren't limited to NIH. ScienceInsider notes that he has also asked the Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General to look into research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to reduce obesity and smoking rates for violations of lobbying rules.