Wednesday, June 01, 2011

CIRM Plans for Lobbyist to Push Patent Reform Position

Shades of Tony Podesta. The other shoe is dropping at the $3 billion California stem cell agency.

This time it comes in the form of open-ended approval for the chairman of the agency to hire federal lobbyists. No details are yet available on the CIRM web site. But on June 9, the directors' Finance Committee will convene for 30 minutes to act on the proposal.

All that is known about the matter at this point is the verbiage in the agenda item:
"Consideration of augmentation of budget of the Office of the Chair to fund, as necessary, contract for federal governmental relations support."
The matter dovetails nicely with the plan to push CIRM into the stormy patent reform battle in Washington.

Some of you may recall that CIRM hired the well-connected, powerful and flamboyant Podesta – he wears red shoes – for $240,000 for 10 months in 2009. (See here, here and here.) Podesta was ultimately paid only $20,077.92, according to a CIRM document. No public explanation has been provided for the difference.

The lobbying effort in 2009, pushed hard by outgoing Chairman Robert Klein, was not without controversy. It made CIRM one of the rare state agencies with its own lobbyist. (See here and here.)

One can only speculate on what will emerge next week. But one would wonder why there is any need to act on the lobbying plan or much less even schedule a meeting on it until a new chairman is elected later this month.

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