California Stem Cell Research Panel Chair Should Resign, Watchdog Says

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 19, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

California Stem Cell Research Panel Chair Should Resign, Watchdog Says Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 19, 2006

Sacramento, CA ( — A biotechnology watchdog group is calling on the head of the state’s Proposition 71 panel to fund stem cell research to resign. The group wants real estate magnate Robert Klein to step down saying the committee needs a new head to guide the agency through pending litigation.

Jesse Reynolds of the Center for Genetics and Society, says Klein should resign. He said his image has been tarnished thanks to lawsuits against the committee and problems with conflicts of interest and violating state open meetings laws.

A spokesman for Klein told the San Francisco Chronicle he has no plans to leave.

By serving as chairman, Klein has "prolonged the promotional phase" of the committee and ineffectively implemented Proposition 71, Reynolds said.

The Center released a 32-page report on the committee’s actions so far and gave it a "C-minus grade because of the numerous problems.

The center criticized the committee for "numerous missteps and misjudgments, resistance to legislative and public oversights and a tendency towards arrogance in the face of criticism.”

The complaint cited previous conflict of issues issues but also indicated it needs to adopt more safeguards for women who may donate their eggs for research — especially in light of the abuses in South Korea.

Klein was the architect of Prop. 71, which voters approved to us $6 billion in taxpayer funds for embryonic stem cell research and human cloning.

Pro-life and taxpayer groups have filed lawsuits against the committee and the measure, saying it fails to follow state law by allowing state government oversight of the massive spending it will undertake. The suits also cite the other problems the Center has focused on.