1. Was any legitimate SBRR reading program precluded by DoE in any State's RF application? If, in fact, any research validated reading program, such as Open Court or Success for All, was precluded there is the makings of a real scandal. If a un-validated phonics program that sufficiently mimicked a SBRR reading program was excluded there is a possibility that it there is a scandal depending on the actual research on the program and how well it claimed to be based on research.
What is not a legitimate scandal is if a balanced literacy/whole language was precluded funding. In the absence of legitimate research, this is the wolf in sweep's clothing scenario. These programs do an excellent job claiming to be phonics based and consistent with the research, but, in fact, they are not. It is good government to aggressively preclude these programs. These programs have recourse in the courts if they think they can exploit a loophole in the law.
2. Was a SBRR reading program unduly forced on a state that didn't want to include it in its RF approved programs? It doesn't count if DoE insisted that the state restrict its selection to one of the few SBRR reading programs out there and refused to permit non-SBRR programs.
That's all I can think of. Everything else is just typical sloppy government and lurid innuendo. We need a lot more facts to determine if either of these two scenarios took place because there is nothing in the OIG audit that suggests that this is what in fact happened.
What most likely happened is that many states tried to get RF funding for non-SBRR reading programs and didn't like it when DoE balked. Hello? This is why we have a reading crisis. So far no curriculum publisher or state has come forward with such claims and I don't suspect they will. Slavin has come forward with unsubstantiated allegations and the fact that SfA has been approved in 28 states seems to belie those allegations. Getting approved under RF is not the same thing as having a school district adopt your reading program.