Issue Date: October 17, 2011
OSTP Actions Violated Law
The White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP) broke the law when it interacted with Chinese officials earlier this year, according to the Government Accountability Office. In its opinion issued on Oct. 11, the investigative arm of Congress says that when OSTP used its appropriated funds to support bilateral talks in May between the U.S. and China on technology issues, it violated part of the final fiscal 2011 spending law. That measure contained specific language added by Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.) that banned OSTP and NASA from collaborating with China or Chinese-owned businesses without congressional approval. OSTP, with the support of the Department of Justice, maintains that the language in the spending law does not apply to the May meeting because that action falls under the President’s exclusive power to conduct diplomacy. In response to the GAO opinion, Wolf sent letters on Oct. 13 to OSTP asking for a stop to all interactions with China and to DOJ asking it to enforce the prohibition.
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