ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — With critics having raised questions about whether UNM’s Health Sciences Center acquisition of fetal tissue for research purposes was done legally, the university’s regents contracted Albuquerque’s Sutin Thayer & Browne law firm for advice and counsel on UNM’s compliance with federal law.
Dr. Paul Roth, UNM’s Health Sciences chancellor, said he was never contacted during the engagement, nor did he know about it at the time.
But copies of Sutin’s invoices to UNM do offer insight into what the firm did during its five-month, $43,000 engagement.
The invoices show research into state and federal laws and frequent conversations with the forensic examiner Sutin subcontracted. They also reflect:
• 14 contacts with staff for U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, including several with his then-chief of staff.
• Four phone calls with an attorney for New Mexico Alliance for Life and one meeting with the anti-abortion group’s attorney and executive director.
• Two telephone calls and one meeting with state Rep. Rod Montoya, R-Farmington.
• Review and analysis of “legislative appropriations to determine how UNM and HSC are funding, risk of de-funding.”
• Review and analysis of “growth of HSC appropriations and level of detail in line-items.”
• Researching UNM Medical Group Inc. and corporate structure of Health Science Center.
• Review and analysis of the “UNM Student Counseling web page.”
• Review and analysis of letters from the Select Panel to UNM and Southwestern Women’s Options.
• Review and analysis of an Alliance for Life news release.
• Emails with the University of South Florida regarding the public records request.