Friday, September 15, 2006

FTCR: Lockyer Should Dump CIRM Financial Overseer

California Attorney General Bill Lockyer should oust a former lobbyist for the California Teachers Association from the panel that oversees the financial dealings of the California stem cell agency, a watchdog group said today.

The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumers Right called on Lockyer to disqualify John Hein from his position on the Citizens Financial Accountability Oversight Committee because Hein did not meet the legal requirement that he have a medical background.

John M. Simpson, stem cell project director for the Santa Monica group, said in a press release that CTA had contributed $526,200 since 2003 to campaign organizations linked to Democratic Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, who appointed Hein in December 2004. (We should note that it is unlikely that the money is a quid pro quo involving the appointment. Nonetheless, Nunez and the CTA are politically close.)

Simpson said,
"When you are appointed to an important position without the qualifications, it's a political payoff. It's clear Hein got this position because of the California Teachers Association's political clout."
According to a San Francisco TV station, Nunez stands by his appointment. Hein told the station, KGO, that he did not have a medical background, saying that he also told that to Nunez.

Nunez' office has not responded to inquiries for comment from the California Stem Cell Report.

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