Gee, I didn't know opposition to dubious corporate welfare was religious. But leftist dupes will be leftist dupes...some excerpts:
A performance review of California’s stem cell institute says the fledgling agency needs to improve several policies, better document how it reaches its policy decisions and further justify some salaries.
...yesterday, the agency said it would follow all of the bureau’s recommendations except one: the suggestion that it require public conflict of interest disclosures by a committee of scientists that recommends which research grants should be funded.
“It’s hard for me to determine whether this is the auditors being overly demanding or the institute continuing to do what it has done in the past – oppose all attempts to make it conduct its business in the open sunshine of the public,” said Jerry Flanagan, of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, which has been keeping tabs on the institute.
The audit also revealed that the state’s Fair Political Practices Committee has concerns with the institute’s conflict of interest policy for out-of-state scientists who are members of a working group that reviews grant applications and makes recommendations on which should get funding.
The institute’s board reviews this groups’ recommendations, then votes on who should receive funding.
The board contends that the working group members serve only in an advisory capacity and are therefore not required to publicly disclose their potential conflicts of interest, as required of the institute’s staff and governing body.
Instead, the working group members file disclosures to the institute, which keeps them under wraps and available for private review by state auditors.
The Fair Political Practices Committee believes that the working group members are decision makers and therefore should be required to publicly file financial disclosure statements.
The legal stance is a threatening one for the institute.
Groups challenging the institute’s legality have also said this working group is a decision-making body, and therefore, the challengers argued, the institute is unconstitutional because the people deciding how to spend the state’s money are not accountable to the taxpayers.