Monday, July 14, 2008

Klein Resigns as Head of Stem Cell Lobbying Group

In the wake of a flap over a personal attack on a leading California lawmaker, Robert Klein, chairman of the California stem cell agency, has resigned as president of the stem cell lobbying group that posted the offending item on the Internet.

John M. Simpson, stem cell project director for Consumer Watchdog of Santa Monica, Ca., today reported Klein's resignation on the Watchdog group's blog. Klein's action came after Simpson called for Klein (see photo) to resign either as president of Americans for Cures, Klein's lobbying group, or as chairman of the $3 billion state agency.

Simpson wrote,
"Don Gibbons, communications director for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, called this afternoon to tell me that Klein had stepped down from Americans for Cures. His phone call came after my posting the view today that holding both the state position and the advocacy position was untenable and the situation was a train wreck waiting to happen.

"In fact, Gibbons said, Klein quit the presidency on Friday, but didn't issue any public statement about it until he personally told Sen. Kuehl what he had done."
Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, is the lead author of legislation aimed at ensuring affordable access to any therapies developed as the result of CIRM-financed research.

Kuehl's office told the California Stem Cell Report that the senator and Klein were scheduled to talk on Tuesday. Americans for Cures has not responded to inquiries concerning Klein's resignation.


  1. Anonymous6:01 PM

    From my blog post
    (click for the full post, with links):

    Over the last three and a half years, ­we­ and others described Robert Klein's dual roles of public servant and private advocate as inappropriate, and called for him to resign. In fact, there's now a feeling of déjà vu. When the CIRM was first established at the start of 2005, Klein initially tried to wear the same two hats, then as head of the advocacy group California Research and Cures Coalition. But after pressure from us and other groups, he stepped down from the advocacy position.

    Even without an official role, Klein is likely to keep one foot in the advocacy world. After all, Americans for Cures still shares an office and fax line with Klein Financial Corporation. We can expect to see the group praise many of the positions he takes at the CIRM and to watch him smear some elected officials while endorsing others. For this reason, and others, we believe Klein should keep the promise he made when he first took the reins at the CIRM, when he assuaged critics by promising to serve only half his term. Those three years have passed, and it is time for Klein to move on.

  2. I understand there's sometime a fine line between right and wrong, but I do believe in Stem Cell research.
    The amount of people that would benefit from such technology outweighs the dilemma, mainly when they can be harvested from the umbilical cord blood. But please correct me, if I am wrong.

    Davi Rodrigues


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