Press Releases

Big Money 20 Incumbents have taken over $1.1 Million from Big Pharma PACs Involved in Opioid Crisis

Aug 29, 2019

Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay Oklahoma $572 million for perpetuating opioid crisis

Big Pharma corporate PACs have spent over $130 million since Citizens United

In a bombshell court case between the state of Oklahoma and opioid “kingpin” Johnson & Johnson, a judge ordered the pharmaceutical giant to pay $572 million to Oklahoma for its role in perpetuating the state’s opioid crisis. The ruling is the nation’s first trial brought by a state that successfully challenged a pharmaceutical companies’ involvement in deceitfully promoting and marketing the drug. Since the Citizens United decision, Big Pharma corporate PACs have spent over $130 million.

In spite of the pharmaceutical industry’s role in fueling an opioid crisis across the country, Big Money 20 incumbents have taken over $1.1 million in contributions from Big Pharma corporate PACs that have been sued for their role in the opioid crisis.

“The Big Money 20 members’ reliance on Big Pharma corporate PACs is a prime example of how Washington is failing the families they’re supposed to represent,” said End Citizens United President Tiffany Muller. “These members should be doing everything they can to remove the scourge of the opioid crisis — not taking money from the very companies perpetuating the problem. Families across the country are paying the price for these members’ allegiance to Big Pharma’s campaign checks.”

A breakdown of how much each Big Money 20 incumbent has taken from PACs connected to Big Pharma companies sued for the opioid crisis:

  • Sen. Mitch McConnell (KY-SEN): $296,000
  • Rep. Rodney Davis (IL-13): $161,000
  • Rep. George Holding (NC-02): $130,000
  • Sen. John Cornyn (TX-SEN): $195,000
  • Sen. Susan Collins (ME-SEN): $117,000
  • Rep. David Schweikert (AZ-06): $77,000
  • Rep. Chris Collins (NY-27): $58,000
  • Sen. Martha McSally (AZ-SEN): $48,500
  • Sen. Joni Ernst (IA-SEN): $20,000
  • Rep. Duncan Hunter (CA-50): $17,500

From 1998-2018, the drug industry spent $3.7 billion on lobbying, which is $1 billion more than any other industry. In 2018 alone, the pharmaceutical industry hired 1,440 lobbyists, allotting three lobbyists for every single member of Congress.

End Citizens United recently named the first round of 12 incumbents to its “Big Money 20” list for the 2020 cycle. The Big Money 20 campaign aims to educate voters about incumbents who represent the worst of Washington and rally support for reforming the political system. The members of the Big Money 20 are incumbents who take money from corporate special interests, mega-donors, and industries like Big Pharma and Big Oil and then put those interests ahead of their constituents.

# # #