On April 13, 2007 Mike Huckabee was interviewed by the Des Moines Register. Among the questions was one about stem cells. In response Huckabee said that “I don’t think that the only avenue to curing cacer and heart disease and diabetes and some of the horrible things that inflict Americans is that we have to destroy life in order to create it.”
That’s not an absolute denunciation of embryonic stem cell research*, but the “destroy life” phraseology certainly gave the impression to social conservatives that he is against it.
Interestingly, just one month later Mike Huckabee produced his financial disclosure statement indicating that he had been paid a $17,500 consulting fee by a leading pharmaceutical company engaged in embryonic stem cell research to find a treatment for diabetes.
Obviously, this is a problem for some social conservatives. To others it is an example of the hypocrisy of Huckabee. And to all, that financial statement should raise other alarms.
In addition to the payments from Novo Nordisk, Mike Huckabee took a third of a million , much of it from organizations with governmental interests, even while he was Governor of Arkansas. Included in that is a salary from Flagship Global Health. Mike Huckabee served on their board of directors, during the last year and a half of his term as Governor of Arkansas, and is still serving in that capacity.
Flagship is a “by-invitation-only, network of medical and surgical specialists who provide priority appointments” to its clients. In other words, it is priority medical care for those who are willing to pay extra. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it sounds like a good idea–especially if more and more people move to government run health care, which will almost assuredly be less patient-friendly.
But that’s the rub. A governor (and a President) has it within his power to influence the quality and quantity of government provided medical care. There is quite obviously a conflict of interest. Even worse, Flagship’s business model would seem to profit from an increase in government medical spending. The benefit is not direct, which would be bad enough, but indirect because as the quality of government care deteriorates, his company’s profits presumably grow. It would be like choosing the owner of a taxi company to regulate buses; the worse the buses perform, the more he profits.
Taking payments from companies with businesses effected by pending legislation apparently doesn’t violate any ethical rules in Arkansas. Nor does sitting on a corporate board while governor. This is after all a state that has produced another former governor who infamously played close to the line of the law. But it certainly isn’t right.
Whether you are a social conservative bothered by Mike Huckabee’s apparent hypocrisy, or a believer in governmental ethics who thinks that business and government need a greater firewall between them than to have governors sit on corporate boards, or if you’re a fiscal conservative who is alarmed that the GOP is on the verge of nominating a presidential candidate who has a direct financial stake in forcing socialized medicine on the rest of us, there is more than enough in Mike Huckabee’s record to merit denying him a higher office.
(ht:CC who note that Huckabee also received a second $17,500 payment from Novo Nordisk.)
Instapundit reader Bill Nelson found this interesting note:
After [Mike Huckabee's] personal success at shedding 100-plus pounds, he has found a platform to share his secrets to creating better health habits in “Quit Digging Your Grave with a Knife and Fork”. Novo Nordisk, a world leader in diabetes care, today announced the availability of 35,000 Spanish-translated copies of this best-selling book, which can be ordered free of charge.
Glenn Reynolds wondered what Huckabee was paid for the 35,000 books. It’s a good question.
Mitt Romney was criticized in April for also having investments in Novo Nordisk. He has since divested from the stem cell research company. I wonder if Huckabee had anything to say about Romney’s investments at the time?
Mike Huckabee, however, hasn’t made any such disavowal of his affiliation with Novo Nordisk, even as he still continued to rail against stem cell research just two days ago.
*But this is an absolute denunciation of embryonic stem cell research:
I believe it is wrong to create human life for the sole purpose of research.
The source? A Mike Huckabee press release from just one month before Huckabee filed a report showing that he had been paid a significant sum by a company engaged in exactly that kind of research.
Look at this curious exchange between a reporter and Mike Huckabee’s speaking agency. In the first email Huckabee’s representative tells the reporter posing as a group wanting wanting him to speak that he is on the campaign trail and unavailable to speak. Once the reporter writes back and says that he wants Huckabee to speak at a church, the story changes. In that case, it’s a $25,000 speaking fee, and Huckabee will make time.
Be sure to read it. And I wonder: does he select churches because he knows that he can pass the plate and receive all kinds of unreported funds in addition to the 25k?