Americans for Cures, whose president is Robert Klein and who also serves as chairman of CIRM, wrote an item for Daily Kos which took on highly respected California state Sen. Sheila Kuehl(see photo), D-Santa Monica, co-author of SB 1565, the affordability legislation in question. The Daily Kos is one of the more widely read political blogs in the nation. According to its web counter, it had 899,000 page views today.
The Daily Kos piece, which did not identify the specific author of the article but only attributed it to Klein's group, said,
"Either Kuehl is ignorant on the science, or mindlessly buying into Republican and anti-cures messaging from the Catholic Church, or playing dumb in a craven attempt to get Republican votes to back her legacy as defender of the poor."Kuehl heads the Senate Health Committee and has been a leader on a variety of issues, including universal health care. A graduate of the Harvard Law School, she has been cited by Capitol insiders as one of the more intelligent lawmakers in Sacramento.
Late last month, at a meeting chaired by Klein, CIRM directors formally opposed SB 1565 but indicated that they wanted to continue to work with Kuehl to resolve differences. Klein's lobbying group, however, was unbending. It referred to "legislative dirty tricks." It called Kuehl's legislation "a thinly veiled ploy to stop embryonic stem cell research in California." Klein's group said,
"California is an example of what we’re seeing all across America. Anti-cures forces are stepping up state-based legislative dirty tricks to pass 'personhood' laws that would discourage or criminalize stem-cell research. If this sounds like the pro-life strategy that successfully undercut federal support for reproductive rights, you’re connecting the dots. Anti-cures legislation is popping up all over America right now, in anticipation of a loosening of restrictions on hESC in January 2009."Klein's group said,
"We speak for advocates whom Kuehl claims to represent. Our focus is on cures, not legacy. We understand that private capital will lead science to the marketplace."Klein's group declared,
"SB 1565 should not be passed in any form."