BREAKING: While Signing Onto Pro-Pharma Bill, Daines Pocketed Tens of Thousands in Campaign Cash From Pharma PACs

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Monday, October 26, 2020

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BREAKING: While Signing Onto Pro-Pharma Bill, Daines Pocketed Tens of Thousands in Campaign Cash From Pharma PACs

Helena, MT – A damning new report details how Senator Steve Daines “received tens of thousands of dollars from large pharmaceutical companies” around the same time he signed onto a pharma-backed drug pricing bill, the Lower Costs, More Cures Act. 

While Daines repeatedly touted his support for the bipartisan Grassley-Wyden drug pricing reform bill, Daines quietly signed onto Lower Costs, More Cures – failing to mention the bill in interviews, press releases and on social media – which was reportedly a more attractive alternative to the pharmaceutical industry and excluded a key provision in Grassley-Wyden that constituted the bulk of taxpayer savings. When asked for comment,The Daines campaign did not respond.” 

Daines has a long history of cozying up to Big Pharma, pocketing a staggering “$106,880 from pharmaceutical manufacturing companies” during this election cycle. This development is the latest proof point that Daines fights for his corporate backers, not Montanans. 

Highlights: 
Newsweek: GOP Senator Steve Daines Raked in Cash from Big Pharma While Backing Drug-Pricing Bill
By: Ramsey Touchberry 

“Republican Senator Steve Daines of Montana received tens of thousands of dollars from large pharmaceutical companies around the same time that he attached his name to alternative drug-pricing legislation this summer, according to recent financial filings with the Federal Elections Commission reviewed by Newsweek.

Daines, one of several vulnerable Republicans in the upper chamber this election cycle, co-sponsored the Lower Costs, More Cures Act on July 2, which sought to lower the cost of prescription drugs while providing greater price transparency. The bill was introduced in December 2019 and has not advanced.

In the weeks before and after Daines threw his weight behind the proposal, he received a total of $18,500 from seven different Big Pharma political action committees (PACs). It had been several months, even up to a year since some of the PACs last donated to the first-term senator’s own PAC, Steve Daines for Montana.

In the months since he endorsed the measure, Daines’ PAC has received an additional $16,800 from five pharma companies, only one of which had previously contributed to his campaign about a year ago.

For this election cycle, Daines has received a total of $106,880 from pharmaceutical manufacturing companies—the fifth most of any Republican senator and eighth most of any senator.

The Daines campaign did not respond to Newsweek’s requests for comment.

Democrats pointed to the contributions to suggest his support for the legislation could have been motivated by the money flowing in amid a tough re-election battle. Daines’ Democratic challenger, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, has outraised the incumbent by roughly $13.5 million this cycle.

“It’s clear that Senator Daines has spent his years in Washington helping out his Big Pharma donors, while Montanans have had to pay more than ever for their prescription drugs,” Bullock campaign spokesperson Sean Manning said.

The state Democratic party offered similar criticism.

“Now that his political future is in jeopardy, Steve Daines is trying to lie about his record of cozying up to Big Pharma,” said Montana Democratic Party Spokesperson Christina Wilkes. “But people see right through this charade—Daines has always put his corporate backers first, not Montanans.”

In the weeks leading up to Daines co-sponsorship of the Lower Costs, More Cures Act on July 2, his PAC received donations from the PACs of five pharma companies ranging from $1,000 to $3,000 each: Mylan, Bristol Myers Squibb, Zeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and Abbott Laboratories.

In the immediate days and weeks following his endorsement, Daines’ PAC received three more pharma contributions: $2,000 from Sanofi on July 5, a second donation from Johnson & Johnson for $2,500 on July 14 and $2,500 from CSL Behring on July 22.

In August and September, the Steve Daines for Montana PAC saw another $16,800 come from five pharma PACs, some of which had previously donated just months prior. The donations ranged from $2,000 to $5,000 each: PhRMA, AmerisourceBergen, VGM Group, Pharmaceutical Care Management Association and Abbvie.

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