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Coburn Alleges Waste, Mismanagement at NSF (May 26, 2011)

Jell-O wrestling at the South Pole is one way U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) says the National Science Foundation has wasted nearly $1.2 billion.

The well-known deficit hawk released a report Thursday highlighting several examples of research and grants he considers improper. The report also accuses the NSF of hoarding expired grant money worth $1.7 billion.

"There is no question NSF serves an important –and legitimate – purpose in our society and has contributed to scientific discovery," Coburn said in a statement.

The Senator noted that advances like the Internet, cloud computing, bar codes and magnetic resonance imaging technology were supported with investments from NSF.

"Unfortunately, in some ways NSF has undermined its core mission through mismanagement and misplaced priorities," Coburn said.

The National Science Foundation issued a statement acknowledging certain instances of waste and wrongdoing highlighted in Coburn’s report, but says overall the agency’s inspector general has an "excellent" record of catching inappropriate behavior.

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