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Wednesday, December 26, 2007
posted by My Klob | 11:14 PM | permalink

THE HUCKABEE / NOVO NORDISK STEM CELL STORY doesn't seem to be getting much media traction. It's like they're rooting for him. Some discussion here, though: "Over the weekend, it came out that Huckabee received $35,000 in honoraria in 2006 from a company that does stem cell research, the very same company that social conservatives blasted Mitt Romney over because his blind trust had invested in it. Huckabee's take of $35,000 from the stem cell researchers was but a small sliver of the roughly $378,000 in outside fees that Huckabee raked in during his final year as Arkansas' governor. Too bad he didn't have Hillary Clinton's facility with commodities trading--such a skill probably would have made things easier for Huckabee."

UPDATE: Reader Jason Palk emails:

Long time reader, first time e-mail response:

I think you're making a mountain out of a molehill here, or if there are serious issues here, then just about every candidate is taking money from a corporation with politically inconvenient sources of income.

Your characterization of Novo Nordisk as a firm that participates in embryonic stem cell research is correct, but belies the fact that millions of diabetics around the world rely on Novo Nordisk's products. The first thing that comes to my mind is that it is a company that makes insulin, not as a company that participates in stem cell research, but you do not characterize it as such in any of your posts so far on the subject. It would be far more benign to your readers to see that Huckabee was paid by a company known for making diabetes drugs that happens to do research in embryonic stem cells.

If this remains a serious issue in your mind, I would point out that many universities that fund embryonic stem cell research in lieu of taking federal research funds are supported by their congressmen and senators, even though their primary purpose is not to support embryonic stem cell research. We should then speak out against anyone speaking on any University of California campus, for example, as those campuses receive funds and carry out embryonic stem cell research.

The same argument can hold true for any corporation that carries out as its primary purpose some service or good, but at the same time does some that is politically inconvenient, such as bribing foreign officials or God forbid, spending too much money in Congress.

Hmm. But wouldn't these defenses apply equally to Mitt Romney, who got grief from pro-life people for investing in Novo Nordisk?

Look, I'm pro stem-cell research. Leaving aside the separate question of whether a sitting governor should earn a lot of money from people who may have interests relating to his day job, I don't have a problem with people taking money from Novo Nordisk. But if you think embryonic stem cell research is so bad that Romney's investment was bad, why isn't it just as bad for Huckabee to take money from Novo Nordisk?

ANOTHER UPDATE: Bob Krumm emails:

I've long thought that gotcha politics about who took campaign contributions from whom is usually a silly game to play. Even a max donation of $2,300 is hardly enough to sway a US Senate candidate, much less a presidential aspirant. However, this wasn't a simple campaign contribution. This was a payment of $35,000 along with an unspecified agreement to distribute thousands of copies of Gov. Huckabee's book. This wasn't a contribution; it was a relationship.

Yes, it's more than just a contribution.

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