Key Democrat Leaders Have Pocketed Millions From Pharma
Three of the lawmakers who will lead the House next year as Congress focuses on skyrocketing drug costs are among the biggest recipients of campaign contributions from the pharmaceutical industry, a new KHN analysis shows.
On Wednesday, House Democrats selected Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland to serve as the next majority leader and Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina as majority whip, making them the No. 2 and No. 3 most powerful Democrats as their party regains control of the House in January.
Both lawmakers have received more than $1 million from pharmaceutical company political action committees in the past decade. Just four members of Congress hold that distinction, including Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, whom Republicans chose as the next House minority leader earlier this month.
Brendan Fischer, who directs federal reform programs at the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, said drugmakers, like other wealthy industries, “shower money” on congressional leaders who are mulling legislation that could affect the pharmaceutical industry.
“Both Democrats and Republicans have discussed taking action on prescription drug prices, and drug companies likely expect that big contributions will help them maintain access to, and influence over, powerful lawmakers,” he said.
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