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California Stem Cell Board Member Violates Conflict Rules; Should Resign From Committee, Consumer Group Says
Date:11/21/2007

FTCR Files Complaint About Burnham's John Reed with Fair Political Practices Commission

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Nov. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Stem Cell oversight committee member John C. Reed, must resign from the board for violating conflict of interest rules, The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) said today.

Reed intervened and attempted to influence the awarding of a research grant to a doctor affiliated with the Burnham Institute, where Reed is president and chief executive.

FTCR, a non-partisan, non-profit consumer advocacy group, also filed a formal complaint with the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) seeking an investigation.

The FPPC is charged with enforcing the Political Reform Act. The stem cell board's Conflict of Interest Policy, Proposition 71, which created the agency, and the Political Reform Act, Government Code 87100, all preclude a member of the board from taking part in, or trying to influence, decisions about grants to an institution he represents.

"The law is clear," said John M. Simpson, FTCR's Stem Cell Project director. "Representatives of institutions are not to take part in decisions about awards to their institutions. John Reed flouted the law and wrote a six-and-a-half-page letter to the stem cell institute's Interim Scientific Director Arlene Chiu arguing Dr. David Smotrich should receive an award."

The letter was revealed as the result of a Public Records Act request by David Jensen of the California Stem Cell Report.

Smotrich was awarded a two-year $638,000 SEED research grant by the stem cell committee at its February meeting. The SEED grants were meant to "jumpstart" stem cell research in California. Before the grants are actually paid out, the applications are vetted by the stem cell agency staff to make sure all eligibility requirements are met.

One of the requirements for the SEED grants was that the principal investigator
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SOURCE Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights
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