Audit: California Stem Cell Agency Complies With Proposition 71
According to an audit, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine's conflict-of-interest policies, grant administration, administrative expenses and expenditures are in compliance with voter-approved Proposition 71 that created the state's stem cell agency, State Controller John Chiang said, the San Francisco Business Times reports.
However, Chiang noted that CIRM grant reviewers did not follow a policy requiring them to sign post-review certification forms that address conflicts of interest, confidentiality and nondisclosure information.
Chiang called for the audit of CIRM's policies and procedures in November after some lawmakers and taxpayer groups criticized the way the stem cell agency manages grant applications, spends its money and handles conflicts of interests.
John Simpson, who oversees the stem cell agency for the Santa Monica-based group Consumer Watchdog, said, "The problem is that Prop. 71 deliberately created an oversight board that is fraught with conflict." He added, "Controller Chiang found that CIRM is following Prop. 71's rules, but those rules specifically put those foxes in charge of the chicken coop" (San Francisco Business Times, 5/12).