Tuesday, November 29, 2005

UC probed over Los Alamos reimbursements Contributions to lab's foundation come under fire

Keay Davidson, Chronicle Science Writer
Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Inspector General is investigating whether the University of California improperly charged the federal government $6 million to support a New Mexico foundation that provides scholarships and other aid to teachers and students.

UC spokesman Chris Harrington said Monday that the university was guilty of no wrongdoing -- "none whatsoever, absolutely not."

The accusations are contained in a draft audit by George Collard, an assistant inspector general. The report says the Energy Department approved UC's proposal in 1997 to establish the nonprofit Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation, which works with schools and community groups in northern New Mexico.


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I am trying to remember the last time UC admitted to doing anything wrong.

* Not with respect to firing whistle blowers
* Not with respect to Nanos
* Not with respect to the shutdown
* Not with respect to Todd Kauppila
* Not with respect to how the Americium-241 contamination event was handled by LANL PA
* Not with respect to "managing" to allow lab technicians to breath acid fumes
* Not with respect to handing out unreported bonuses to UC managers
* Not with respect to donations to the Los Alamos Foundation

I am starting to see a pattern here.

Roderick Spode
After looking at Appendix N of the contract I believe that the DOE is wrong on this one.

The LANL Foundation is guilty of a lot of other things which verge on the illegal, but not this one.
The underlying issue here is whether taxpayer money can be handed out as donations or contributions, whether the monies are going to a worthy cause or not isn't the real issue. The law is rather clear in this regard. Under Federal Aquisition Regulation, donations and contributions are "unallowable costs." For those interested, the URL for the FAR is:

The applicable section is 31.205-8, while section 52.242-3 addresses associated penalties.

Bottom line is taxpayer moneys aren't supposed to just be donated or dolled out for nothing in return.
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