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ACS and politics

November 28, 2016 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 94, Issue 47

I was in no way surprised to read about the politicization and potential misuse of power by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chair of the House of Representatives Science, Space & Technology Committee (C&EN, Oct. 24, page 20). His track record of questionable science policy leadership is now well-established, and as stated in C&EN’s article, “Smith has been stirring up controversy in the Science Committee almost since the moment he took over in January 2013.” His leadership in this position has been criticized by members of Congress from both parties.

ACS 2015 IRS Form 990 available

The American Chemical Society’s 2015 IRS Form 990 is now available on ACS’s website. To access the information, go to and follow these instructions: Click on “About ACS,” and then click on “Financial,” which brings you to the “ACS Financial Information” page. Under the heading “ACS IRS Form 990,” click on “2015 IRS Form 990.”

Also see the related “Guide to Schedule J” for explanatory information regarding ACS executive compensation. If you have access problems, contact

Yet, in 2013, I remember being shocked to read in C&EN that the American Chemical Society had awarded Smith ACS’s 2013 Public Service Award for “vision and leadership in public policy that benefits science, engineering, and innovation” (April 29, 2013, page 8) despite the fact that many of his actions run contrary to ACS’s own statement to “promote science and sustainability in public policy.” I remember feeling that this was political gamesmanship by ACS back in 2013.

Now, three years later, what has that recognition of Smith gotten ACS members and the broader scientific community? It appears the representative’s “vision and leadership” remains unchanged and that he is still as much a threat to transparent and responsible leadership in science policy as he was three years ago. I hope ACS will learn from these past actions by ensuring all future honors are based on merits and achievements, rather than politics and pandering.

Name withheld upon request


Oct. 31, page 25: In C&EN’s feature on 10 start-ups to watch, the founders of two companies were presented incorrectly. The founders of Kyulux are Chihaya Adachi, Junji Adachi, Akira Minakuchi, and Christopher J. Savoie. The founders of NuMat Technologies are Omar K. Farha, Benjamin Hernandez, and Christopher Wilmer.


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