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    Saturday, October 28, 2006

    Money Can Buy You Anything: One very rich Missouri couple is bankrolling the campaign to make embryonic stem cell researchers a constitutionally protected interest group:

    Proponents of Missouri constitutional amendment to protect embryonic stem cell research have broken every record on political spending for statewide races, with one billionaire couple bankrolling nearly all of the $28.7 million campaign.

    That total price tag is staggering when compared to even the most expensive campaigns in Missouri history. The stem cell campaign is already more than twice as costly as any campaign for a Missouri ballot measure.

    The amount spent by proponents of the stem cell measure is greater that the total spent by all candidates combined in any race to date for statewide office, including governor or U.S. senator.

    ...More than 97 percent of the money, or $28 million, has come from Jim and Virginia Stowers, founders of American Century mutual funds. After surviving cancer, the two donated more than $1.5 billion to form the Stowers Institute, which seeks to find cures for disease through stem cell research.

    The Stowerses have declined interviews throughout the campaign. On Monday, the couple's spokesman described their political spending as an extension of their philanthropy.

    "They are cancer survivors who are able to fund research that benefits the whole of Missouri," said David Welte, a Kansas City lawyer who represents the couple.

    The hope for a cure is understandable, but about all their money is likely to buy is a good living for embryonic stem cell researchers for years to come.

    posted by Sydney on 10/28/2006 07:57:00 PM 6 comments


    This bill has nothing to do with embryonic stem cell research. All it does is allow cloning of human embryos. Those cloned embryos can be used for any purpose. You could feed them to your dog.

    By Blogger Jake, at 8:57 PM  

    Personally I wish more money would go into adult stem cell research, I think there's been more progress there. ;-)

    By Anonymous Dara, at 3:53 PM  

    The argument over embryonic stem cell research is a delicate one, primarily because religious sensibilities and science don't often make congenial bedfellows. One thing appears to be true: this research will be done somewhere, and we currently have gifted researchers leaving the US to pursue what they believe is important work. It is certainly a mistake to view this issue from the lofty, unforgiving heights of fundamentalism. It would also be a mistake to offer carte blanche to scientists who occasionally forget their reverence for life while they're trying to improve our lives.
    It really doesn't matter where one stands on this issue; the answer lies somewhere in the middle, and it is high time we reached the necessary compromise.

    By Blogger Doom, at 4:02 PM  

    That's interesting info on who's paying for this campaign. 'Scuse me while I go check my 401(k) portfolios and switch any investments I may have in AmCent funds.

    By Blogger Bob, at 1:21 PM  

    I know the Stowers family and they really are doing this because they believe it's the best way to find cures for horrible disorders. They will not make a dime if this thing passes. In fact they've spent the last decade giving away most of their money in order to support science to help others. Their intentions are beyond reproach.

    KC Sammy

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:08 PM  

    From what I understand, there's some bozo legislator in MO who tries to criminalize this science every year (I think he's done this about 6 times). They are pushing for a Constitutional amendment to get this issue resolved once and for all. They've made a $1.5 billion gift to the state of MO and they want to prevent it from being rendered obsolete by short-sided legislation.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:13 PM  

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