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California Stem Cell Agency Funds Controlled By Conflicts of Interest

Written by on Tuesday, July 10th, 2007 Print This Post Print This Post

California Stem Cell Report provided more enlightening coverage today on how funds are being disbursed at the California Stem Cell Agency.

California Stem Cell Report reported as follows:

About ninety percent of the $209 million handed out so far by the California stem cell agency has gone to institutions that have “representatives” on the board that approves the funding. . . .

The group that approves the money is the 29-member Oversight Committee. Fourteen members of that committee have close links to the institutions that have received about $190 million in grants.

None of this is illegal but it illuminates the nature of the built-in conflicts of interest on the board. Prop. 71 created the situation. Nearly all the institutions in California that could be suitable recipients of stem cell research have some sort of representation on the decision-making board. The measure spelled out, for example, that five executive officers from University of California medical schools have seats on the board. It also stipulated that four executive officers from California research institutions sit on the Oversight Committee. . . .

Isn’t it comforting to know that millions of California’s taxpayer dollars have been entrusted to an entity, which is plagued by so many conflicts of interests?   Did voters unknowingly create just another bloated bureaucracy when they voted in favor of Proposition 71?  It is difficult not to think that this is exactly what has happened when you read these reports.

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