Friday, December 09, 2005

Spending on Litigation Seems to Please Stem Cell Foes

The foes of the California stem cell agency seem delighted to have forced CIRM to divert hundreds of thousands of dollars into litigation instead of finding cures for diseases ranging from cancer to Alzheimer's.

Steve Ertelt, editor of, wrote today:

"Taxpayer and pro-life groups that oppose Prop. 71 have been successful in holding off grants for embryonic stem cell research and human cloning because of their lawsuits against the measure. They have also forced the stem cell panel to spend a quarter of its money on legal bills."
Ertelt described the agency's proposed research as "grisly."

In recent months, foes of the agency have contended their opposition is based on good government issues – not religion. But those statements seem to be something of an exercise in dissembling -- to be generous -- based on the comments of Ertelt and others. Earlier this week we noted one of their attorney's assertions about the creation of subhuman beings.

Ertelt's piece also seems to borrow some information, without attribution, from an article by reporter Terri Somers of the San Diego Union-Tribune. She wrote two stories this week out of the meeting Tuesday of the Oversight Committee in Duarte.

We previously linked to her first story on Wednesday. Her second story appeared in the actual newspaper but did not appear online as far as we can determine. We ran across the article in the printed version of the paper.

She reported that CIRM has a $240,000 bill from the state Department of Justice in addition to the $772,000 it is paying its private lawyers. That pushes the agency's legal costs to more than $1 million in less than a year or about $2,800 a day, by our calculations. Not all of that is tied to the litigation, but it remains a rather substantial sum.

Somers also quoted Dana Cody of the Life Legal Defense Fund as saying, "This is a taxpayer issue and Bob Klein managing to have access to taxpayer money that he isn't entitled to, no matter how Bob Klein spins it."

Ertelt appears to have picked up that quote from Somers without noting that it came from her piece. Of course, it could have come to Ertelt directly from Cody as well.

Cody's concern about tax funds notwithstanding, it is abundantly clear that the Life Legal Defense Fund would not be suing CIRM if it did not plan to fund the "grisly" embryonic stem cell research.

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