Thursday, August 12, 2010

Using tax dollars in an effort to convince taxpayers to give you more money

CIRM, California's $3 billion dollar stem cell agency is planning on spending $1 million on a study of their operations by the Institute of Medicine to prove they are a positive addition to the state and as a possible tool to convince California's taxpayers to give them even more money in an upcoming (2012) election. The California Stem Cell Report says CIRM plans on using $500,000 from private donors. I'm assuming the other half million is coming out the taxpayer's pocket.
During the Science Subcommittee meetings, CIRM directors often referred to the IOM's vaunted independence, which they implicitly did not think would be affected by a $1 million contract. There also was no discussion of limitations that CIRM might impose on the scope of the study before signing a contract. In the case of a current $300,000 contract to assess the economic impact of the agency, CIRM specified that its economic consultants must "execute a vibrant and aggressive strategy" supporting CIRM, a requirement that fundamentally damages the credibility of whatever the their report says.

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