Undeserved Appointment is Symptom of Pay-to-Play Politics that Prop 89 Would End
San Francisco, CA — A member of a key committee meeting for the first time today to oversee the finances of the stem cell institute doesn’t meet the qualifications for the position and his appointment appears to be a political payoff to the powerful California Teachers Association, consumer advocates said today.
The appointment of John Hein, former lobbyist for the California Teacher’s Association, smacks of cronyism and the pay-to-play culture that dominates California politics, said the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR). Such abuses could be stopped by enacting Proposition 89, FTCR said.
Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez appointed Hein to the Citizens’ Financial Accountability and Oversight Committee. According to Proposition 71 that created the stem cell institute members of the committee “shall have medical backgrounds and knowledge of relevant financial matters.” Hein’s biography posted on the committee’s website shows no medical background whatsoever. Read the biography at: http://www.sco.ca.gov/eo/cfaoc/members.shtml.
“When you get appointed to an important position without the qualifications, it’s a political payoff. It’s clear Hein got this position because of the California Teachers Association’s political clout,” said John M. Simpson, FTCR’s Stem Cell Project Director. “The law specifies the qualifications for the post. It’s appalling it was so blatantly flouted by the Speaker.”
The California Teachers Association is one of the state’s most powerful unions and one of Núñez’s biggest boosters. The union gave $526,200 to Núñez since 2003.
Proposition 89, on the ballot in November, which gets special interest money out of California politics would end such abuses, FTCR said. Wednesday Núñez announced he opposes Proposition 89.
“Hein should do the honorable thing and resign,” said Simpson.
Proposition 71, approved overwhelmingly by the voters in 2004, created the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine to oversee funding $3 billion in stem cell research. Including bond financing, $6 billion of public money is at stake. The first research grants are expected to be made early next year.
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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: http://www.ConsumerWatchdog.org. Our stem cell information page is located at: http://www.StemCellWatch.org.