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Santa Monica, CA -- Conflict of interest rules for members of the groups advising the stem cell oversight committee must be strengthened and members' disclosures made completely public, the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) said today.

The regulations are moving through California's Office of Administrative Law process and are open for public comment until May 29. When approved they have the force of law.

"These rules require the members to disclose potential conflicts, but then the information is kept secret and the public has no access," said John M. Simpson, FTCR's Stem Cell Project director. "These so-called working group members will be advising the oversight committee on how to dole out $3 billion of taxpayers' money -- with bond financing $6 billion is at stake. We need full public disclosure."

Simpson urged people to visit stem cell institute's Web site, www.cirm.ca.gov to voice concern about the conflict of interest regulations. In addition to the working group conflict of interest rules, regulations governing medical and ethical standards for Proposition 71 research are also open for public comment. There will be a public hearing on those rules in Oakland on May 1, the day the comment period on them closes.

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The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights is California's leading non-profit and non-partisan consumer watchdog group. For more information visit us on the web at www.ConsumerWatchdog.org. Our stem cell information page is at located at: www.stemcellwatch.org.