Lawmakers Order Stem Cell Institute Audit
The Joint Legislative Audit Committee on Wednesday voted unanimously to require a state audit of the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine and the Independent Citizens' Oversight Committee, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (San Francisco Chronicle, 3/9).
State Auditor Elaine Howle said the audit will examine potential conflicts of interest at CIRM (Johnson, San Jose Mercury News, 3/9).
According to the Sacramento Bee, the audit will consider hiring and compensation policies, purchasing, management and other oversight issues (Sanders, Sacramento Bee, 3/9).
The audit will take six months, Howle said (San Francisco Chronicle, 3/9).
CIRM has been criticized for expenditures for public relations, lobbying and private legal counsel (San Jose Mercury News, 3/9).
In related news, four research institutes are discussing plans to form the San Diego Consortium for Regenerative Medicine and request Proposition 71 funds to build a facility for embryonic stem cell research, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The project is the first of its kind to be proposed in California, according to the Union-Tribune.
The four institutes -- the University of California-San Diego, the Burnham Institute for Medical Research, the Scripps Research Institute and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies -- would not seek individual grants from the state under the agreement.
According to the Union-Tribune, a new facility is important because of federal restrictions that bar human embryonic stem cell research from being conducted in facilities that receive federal funds (Somers, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/9).