New Jersey Gov Would Head Embryonic Stem Cell Research Institute

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 26, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Jersey Gov Would Head Embryonic Stem Cell Research Institute Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 26, 2004

Trenton, NJ ( — After embattled Governor James McGreevey steps down in November, acting Governor Richard Codey is expected to name McGreevey as the head of the New Jersey Stem Cell Institute, the first taxpayer funded embryonic research program, which McGreevey created without taxpayer input.

Pro-life leaders say such a nomination would further add to the scandals surrounding the New Jersey Governor’s office. McGreevey, formerly a lobbyist for a pharmaceutical company, may now be stepping down from public office and into a job that he helped create and fund as governor.

"Now that the governor has announced his resignation, he is in a unique position to unduly influence this project for which he may personally benefit. This possibility, which is being floated by McGreevey’s advisers, should send up a red flag to anyone concerned about government ethics and cleaning up the way Trenton does business," said Marie Tasy of New Jersey Right to Life.

"If McGreevey is hired in some capacity to advance the Stem Cell Institute, it would mean that he would not only be profiting from the $11.5 million pet project he engineered and forced on the taxpayers of New Jersey, he would have unfettered access to secure funding year after year which he would personally benefit from," added Tasy.

Earlier this month McGreevey announced he will be stepping down from office on November 15, due to a homosexual affair that was allegedly about to become public. Codey will then serve as acting governor.

New Jersey became the second state to endorse embryonic stem cell research, a process in which a human embryo is cloned then destroyed. Despite the lack of any scientific evidence that the embryonic stem cells are useful, McGreevey signed legislation January 4 endorsing the practice.

McGreevey later funded the Stem Cell Institute, which was created by the legislation he signed in January, with $11.5 million from the state budget, just before it was approved by the legislature.

Following the revelations of a scandal involving McGreevey’s chief campaign contributor, the New Jersey Democratic Party and McGreevey announced in July that they will give $13,600 in contributions from leading financial backer Charles Kushner to the New Jersey Stem Cell Institute, in the wake of charges against the real estate developer for conspiracy, prostitution, and obstruction of justice.

"Like the research it embodies, The Stem Cell Institute of New Jersey is rooted in an unethical and immoral foundation," remarked Tasy.