How Does Sen. Coburn Decide What Spending Is Wasteful?

August 01, 2011 1:37 pm ET — Jamison Foser

Sen. Tom Coburn

Yet another complaint that Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) proposed cuts to scientific research without seeking input from those conducting the research:

"Goats are very curious animal, very smart," said Dr. Tilahun Sahlu.

And at Langston University's American Institute for Goat Research, they've also become political lighting rods.

"What's the most economical way of fencing goats in?," asked Dr. Terry Gipson.

That question is at the heart of a study for which the university received a $300,000 federal grant, which was later branded wasteful by senator Tom Coburn. [...]

So you are trying to come up with the cheapest and most effective way to keep goats on a farm? "That's correct. That's what we wanted to do. And I wish they contacted us," said Dr. Sahlu.

Goats, says Dr. Sahlu are the fastest growing animal industry in America, yet being able to raise them in the most affordable fashion is still a challenge.

In June, Coburn's office said that prior to releasing a report critical of National Science Foundation grants, they sought input from grant recipients. But multiple recipients of grants criticized by Coburn reportedly said they had never been contacted by Coburn or his staff. Last week, the Tulsa World criticized Coburn for failing to consult "respected and experienced leaders from his home state" before criticizing a bridge project.