Free money? The scientists involved have PhDs in serious scientific fields.
As for review: a scientific article faces peer review before it is published in a journal. After it is published, it faces comment and criticism from every specialist who reads that journal. If the paper is significant, it will be republished in various media and circulated to a larger and more general readership.
Since pretty much anybody is able to access and read any scientific article, it’s absurd to compare the process to police investigating themselves.
My view of it is that we have paid to hire wonderful scientists and build expensive labs and equipment, but the Trump administration doesn’t want us to see what we paid for.