Allegations of conflict of interest in Kansas Bioscience Authority voiced

Kansas State Senator Susan Wagle (R-Wichita) recently alleged that Kansas Bioscience Authority leader Tom Thornton has conflicts of interest.

“I have found some information that alarms me,” Wagle said, according to

Wagle, is the chair of the Senate Commerce Committee and has held previous hearings about KBA operations, released copies of legal records, letters and Facebook pictures to support her claim, reports.

“There are lots of problems with this agency," Chris Steineger (R-Kansas City), a member of the commerce committee, said, according to "This investigation has to be larger and made more public. What we presented here is just the tip of the iceberg."

Wagle said her records will show that Thornton had influenced KBA funding towards companies that were run by his business associates from Illinois. She also alleged that he had served as president of an internet company that lost $421 million in 18 months and was now being looked at by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Former Kansas Governor George Carlin, now chairman of the KBA board, said Wagle’s public accusations will threaten the state’s ability to secure $650 million for the funding of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility and the whole future of the KBA, which was founded in 2004.

“You were brilliant in 2004, and we are about to screw it up,” Carlin said, according to, during a heated committee meeting.

Several committee members were upset that Wagle did not release the documents to KBA officials before the meeting. They did not have time to prepare answers to the allegations before they became public.

“This is getting a little bit ridiculous,” Sen. Rob Olson (R-Olathe) said, reports. “It’s like we’re trying to shotgun them. Let’s give them questions. Let’s give them time to answer.”

Kansas Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka suggested that the attack on the KBA was a ploy by Republic Governor Sam Brownback to replace Thornton with someone of his choosing. Brownback denied the allegations, but gave his blessing to the inquiry.