Federal Fumbles Version 3

Social Security for Chimps:

Since 2000, the NIH has spent more than $52 million to

support the Chimpanzee Biomedical Research Resource,

now called the National Center for Chimpanzee Care

(NCCC).14 The NCCC is now home to the NIH’s 139

chimpanzees that were previously used for biomedical

research.15 Despite the announcement that research

would no longer be conducted, the NIH provided $2.6

million in both 2015 and 2016 to operate the NCCC, which

is more than the $2.5 million provided in 2000.16 The $2.6

million annual funding for 139 chimpanzees translates to

roughly $18,700 per chimp per year,17 meaning it would

likely be cheaper to enroll all 139 chimpanzees in college

since that amount would more than pay for tuition, room,

and board in many state universities.

It is unclear why the NIH has continued to pay to keep, feed, and care for the 139 chimpanzees at the NCCC.

The $2 million or more spent on the chimpanzees annually would be better spent on actual medical research

to benefit the American taxpayers who paid for it. The NIH should safely relinquish the chimpanzees to animal

sanctuaries, zoos, or other groups who can use private dollars for their care.

Doggie Hamlet:

A $30,000 NEA grant to support a production

of Doggie Hamlet.

Doggie Hamlet actually includes humans yelling or running toward

very confused sheep and dogs.20 The production, which does not

include any actual lines from Hamlet, is conducted outdoors in a

30-by-50-foot field in New Hampshire.21 The play is described as

“a beautiful and dreamlike spectacle weaving instinct, mystery, and

movement into an unusual performance event.”22

You’re Fired-No You’re Not:

A 2014 Treasury IG investigation discovered that from 2010 to

2013, the IRS hired 824 people who were previously terminated

due to “prior conduct or performances issues.”24 In fact, one fired

employee was rehired even though his employee file had “DO NOT

REHIRE” stamped on it.25 Despite IG and congressional pressure

to stop hiring fired employees, in July 2017 the IG released a new

report showing more than 200 previously terminated employees

were rehired between January 2015 and March 2016.26 Reasons

for their termination or suspension included not filing tax returns and

improperly accessing taxpayer records.27

Nickel back for the Stickleback:

The stickleback is a fish with three spines found throughout the Northern Hemisphere in fresh or saltwater

bodies.37 Sticklebacks are known for a protective armor that defends against predators, though freshwater

sticklebacks tend to have less armor than the saltwater variety.38 Stickleback have also been the focus of multiple

NSF research grants spread over eight years to determine how the fish adapt to different environments.

In 2003, the NSF provided $154,000 to determine in part how the stickleback adapts to different ecological

conditions.39 This was followed in 2009 by two grants40,41 totaling $671,657 to determine how the stickleback

changed and adapted after moving to a new area in Alaska. These grants have now been followed by three more

grants42,43,44 totaling $1,836,132 to study how the stickleback

adapts to murky water in Iceland. That brings the total to

more than $2.6 million just to study how the stickleback

adapts to different environments.

While there may be some value in knowing how the

stickleback adapts to different environments, it is unusual

that the NSF would fund more than $2.6 million on similar

research and approve more than $1.8 million in research in

a different country.

And it goes on and on. See the complete list here.

Lee Matthews

Lee Matthews

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