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Calif. to investigate state stem cell agency

A California state political oversight commission has agreed to investigate a conflict of interest complaint filed against a board member at the state's stem cell agency. California's Fair Political Practices Commission said yesterday (Dec 10) that it will look into an linkurl:incident;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53971/ involving John Reed, a member of the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine's (CIRM) governing board and CEO of the Burnham Institute for Medical Research i

By | December 11, 2007

A California state political oversight commission has agreed to investigate a conflict of interest complaint filed against a board member at the state's stem cell agency. California's Fair Political Practices Commission said yesterday (Dec 10) that it will look into an linkurl:incident;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53971/ involving John Reed, a member of the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine's (CIRM) governing board and CEO of the Burnham Institute for Medical Research in La Jolla. In August, Reed violated CIRM conflict of interest rules by writing a letter to a CIRM staff member seeking to overturn a decision not to award a grant to a Burnham researcher. A spokesperson for the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) told __The Scientist__ that "the commission is moving forward with an investigation," but would not comment more specifically on the investigation. He did say that when FPPC investigations determine wrongdoing, fines may be levied against the guilty parties. The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR), a watchdog group that has been critical of CIRM since the institute's inception in 2004, filed the complaint two weeks ago. John Simpson, FTCR's stem cell project director, said in a press release announcing the impending investigation: "Most of the people handing out the money are the very same people from the institutions that get the money. That means the conflict rules in place must be strictly adhered to and there must be consequences when they are violated." Simpson has called for the resignation of Reed and CIRM board chairman linkurl:Robert Klein,;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/53480/ who suggested that Reed write the letter.
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