Grassley Questions Office of Naitonal Drug Control Policy

By:  Joe Biden, Jr.
Date: March 22, 2006
Location: Washington, DC


GRASSLEY QUESTIONS OFFICE OF NATIONAL DRUG CONTROL POLICY

Senator Chuck Grassley, Chairman of the Caucus on International Narcotics Control, along with Senator Joe Biden of Delaware have expressed to Director John Walters of the Office of National Drug Control Policy their concern for how the Fiscal Year 05 Drug Free Communities grantee selection process is being handled.

In a letter Grassley and Biden ask several questions regarding the process for selecting reinstated grantees. They request that the process be conducted transparently and their questions be answered promptly.

As the chairman of the Caucus on International Narcotics Control, Grassley is involved with the oversight of the Office of National Drug Control Policy and has been working to ensure the selection process is fair and transparent. The letter sent this week is a follow up to the letter he and Biden previously sent requesting that coalitions who are de-funded through the grantee process be able to appeal.

Here is a copy of the March 20 letter Grassley and Biden sent to Walters.

The Honorable John Walters
Director
Office of National Drug Control Policy
750 17th Street NW
Washington, DC 20006

Dear Director Walters:

It is with great regret that we find ourselves writing yet another letter regarding the flawed FY 05 Drug Free Communities (DFC) grantee selection process. However, following your most recent letter dated March 2, 2006, we feel compelled to express to you our continued frustration and sincerest concern for the way this situation has been handled.

Your decision not to provide a fair and transparent appeals process to the 62 coalitions that were, by all indications, unfairly de-funded is deeply troubling and only furthers speculation that the process was flawed. As you know, our repeated requests for an appeals process have specifically called for independent third party involvement. Instead, you ignored our calls for transparency and conducted an internal re-review of the applications.

While we are happy to see that ONDCP has finally chosen to notify the coalitions in writing why they were not funded, many questions remain.

1. When and how are those with grants being reinstated going to be notified?

2. Will the reinstated grantees be responsible for completing a renewal application? If so, what is the due date?

3. If they are responsible for completing a renewal application, will they be held to the same standard as the other renewal applicants in terms of outcomes, etc? (Obviously, they will not have had the ability to carry out their work plans, and therefore track and document their outcomes in the same manner they would have, had their grants not been delayed.)

4. What will the effective funding dates be for the seven reinstated grants? Will it go from April 06-April 07 or from April 06-September 30, 2006?

5. If it only goes from April to September, will they be expected to expend the entire grant amount by that time, or will they be given an extension?

6. If they are given an extension, will it be automatic, or will they need to apply for an extension? How is this being handled for everyone else in a similar situation?

7. What amount of funding will the 7 reinstated grantees receive? Will they receive the amount they applied for or will it be for a prorated amount?

8. Where is the money for these reinstated grantees coming from?

9. On what day are the reinstated grantees expected to receive their notice of grant award?

10 What do the 7 reinstated grantees need to do to ensure that they will receive funds for next year? Will they be treated the same as the other renewals?

11. When were the letters mailed to the 55 coalitions who will not have their funding reinstated? Despite the fact that they are dated February 23rd, most have just recently received their letters. Is ONDCP planning to extend the deadline by which their responses must be submitted?

Please provide to us no later than March 27th answers to these important questions so we might better understand how this process will proceed. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Grassley Joseph R. Biden Jr.

http://grassley.senate.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressReleases.Detail&PressRelease_id=5020&Month=3&Year=2006