Navigation Links
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 be "either senior or junior faculty and must be a full-time employee of the grantee organization." Smotrich, though classified as a clinical associate of Burnham, does not receive a salary from the Institute. Moreover, he does not have his laboratory at Burnham.

In a letter to Jean Freiser, Burnham's director of Sponsored Research, Tamar Pachter, stem cell institute counsel, wrote that the eligibility requirements were not met and the grant could not be funded. On Aug. 2 Reed wrote the stem cell institute claiming that denial of the grant to Smotrich "set a dangerous precedent that adversely affects all clinician-scientists."

"Nobody doubts Smotrich's abilities or the scientific value of this project," said Simpson. "But when you hand out millions of dollars in public money, you have to play by the rules. He didn't meet the eligibility rules advertised for this grant and waiving them would have been unfair to everyone else. It's shocking that Reed would jump in like this."

Despite Reed's efforts, the stem call agency staff stood firm. They offered Burnham an opportunity to withdraw the grant, but when the institute declined to do so, it was rejected. The action was announced at the October oversight board meeting.

"I'm glad the agency's staff enforced the rules. Apparently they understand their responsibilities to the public as a state agency even if some of the oversight board members do not," said Simpson.

FTCR noted that Proposition 71 that created the stem cell institute established an oversight board that is fraught with built-in conflicts of interest. Most of the members are representatives of the very institutions expected to receive most of the research grants.

"This means that whatever meager conflict of interest safeguards exist, they must be strictly adhered to and enforced," said Simpson. "If abuses like Reed's aren't squelched immediately, who knows what backroom deals will be cut amongst board members? This wasn't trivial. Reed should resign -- or be removed -- from the committee and pay a fine."

Reed was appointed to the 29-member Independent Citizens Oversight Committee of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine by then State Controller Steve Westly.

FTCR's Stem Cell Oversight and Accountability Project is working to ensure that California's landmark $6 billion stem cell research program offers accessible and affordable cures and treatments to the taxpayers who have funded it.

The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights is California's leading non-profit and non-partisan consumer watchdog group. For more information visit us on the web at: http://www.ConsumerWatchdog.org and http://www.oilwatchdog.org.


'/>"/>
SOURCE Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related biology technology :

1. BioMarin Licenses Technology From Leading Cystic Fibrosis Research Laboratory at the University of California, San Francisco
2. Codexis Licenses New Drug Metabolite Profiling and Lead Diversification Technology From the California Institute of Technology
3. More Than 230 Cyclists to Ride in Amgen California Coast Classic Bike Tour to Raise $1.3 Million for Arthritis Foundation
4. Salugens Award-Winning Research on Using DNA Information to Customize Nutritional Supplementation for Weight Loss Presented at the Second Annual Bruce Ames International Symposium on Nutritional Genomics at the University of California, Davis
5. California IVF Experts Tap Ethics Committee for Guidance
6. Carrington Announces Nasdaq Communication; Prepares for Shares to Be Quoted on the OTC Bulletin Board and Pink Sheets
7. KGI Elects Three New Members to Board of Trustees
8. Ralf Rosskamp, M.D. Joins Biodels Scientific Advisory Board
9. DOV Pharmaceutical, Inc. Begins Trading on OTC Bulletin Board
10. Nektar Therapeutics Appoints Lutz Lingnau as New Board Member
11. BioLife Solutions Expands Scientific Advisory Board
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... the Pennsylvania Convention Center and will showcase its product’s latest features from June ... be presenting a scientific poster on Disrupting Clinical Trials in The Cloud during ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... new line of intelligent tools designed, tuned and optimized exclusively for Okuma CNC ... in Chicago. The result of a collaboration among several companies with expertise in ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... PUNE, India , June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... culture media market research report to its pharmaceuticals ... company profiles, product details and much more. ... market spread across 151 pages, profiling 15 companies ... now available at http://www.reportsnreports.com/reports/601420-global-cell-culture-media-industry-2016-market-research-report.html . ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... , June 22, 2016 Research and ... Global Markets" report to their offering. ... billion in 2014 from $29.3 billion in 2013. The market is ... of 13.8% from 2015 to 2020, increasing from $50.6 billion in ... projected product forecasts during the forecast period (2015 to 2020) are ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:5/9/2016)... , UAE, May 9, 2016 ... it comes to expanding freedom for high net worth ... Even in today,s globally connected world, there is still ... system could ever duplicate sealing your deal with a ... second passports by taking advantage of citizenship via investment ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... BANGALORE, India , April 28, 2016 ... of Infosys (NYSE: INFY ), and Samsung SDS, ... partnership that will provide end customers with a more ... payment services.      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130122/589162 ) ... financial services, but it also plays a fundamental part in ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... LONDON , April 26, 2016 ... a product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: ... to integrate the Onegini mobile security platform with ... http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20151104/283829LOGO ) The integration will ... to access and transact across channels. Using this ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):