REVOLVING DOOR: Drug company lobbyists included former Trump officials

Washington, DC – Today, Patients Over Pharma released a new analysis of lobbying disclosures that showed that major pharmaceutical companies and their trade groups spent at least $47.7 million dollars on lobbying in the first quarter of 2020, which included the opening months of the coronavirus crisis and involved multiple lobbyists who were former members of the Trump Administration.

“As the coronavirus crisis was ramping up, Big Pharma was doubling down on their attempts to influence policymakers and protect their profits,” said Eli Zupnick, spokesman for Patients Over Pharma. “Patients are demanding that Congress and the Trump Administration take strong action to reduce the costs of prescription drugs and make sure that coronavirus vaccines and treatments are affordable for every American, and these new disclosures make it clear that Big Pharma is doing everything they can to rig the system and prevent that from happening.” 

Pharmaceutical Companies & Trade Groups Reported Spending At Least $47.7 Million On Lobbying In First Three Months Of 2020. According to a review of federal lobbying reports, pharmaceutical companies and trade groups reported spending $47,739,500 on lobbying in the first quarter of 2020. Clients included in this analysis are: AbbVie, Amgen, Bayer, BIO, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, Gilead, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, McKesson, Merck, Moderna, Novartis, Pfizer, PhRMA, Regeneron, Roche and Sanofi. [Lobbying Disclosure Act Database, accessed 4/21/20]

Client Amount
AbbVie Inc. $3,320,000
Amgen Inc. $3,925,000
Bayer Corporation $2,495,000
Biotechnology Innovation Organization $3,380,000
Bristol-Myers Squibb $760,000
Eli Lilly and Company $1,740,000
Gilead Sciences Inc. $3,155,000
GlaxoSmithKline $1,350,000
Johnson & Johnson Services Inc. $2,010,000
McKesson Corporation $695,000
Merck $2,666,000
Moderna, Inc. $10,000
Novartis $3,675,000
Pfizer $5,095,000
Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America $10,693,500
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. $580,000
Roche Diagnostics $70,000
Sanofi U.S. $2,120,000
TOTAL $47,739,500

Inovio & Former Trump Official Robert Wasinger

Inovio Reactivated Lobbying Contract With McGuireWoods As Result Of Coronavirus Pandemic. “Two drug manufacturers have also ramped up their lobbying presence: Acturus Therapeutics and Inovio Pharmaceuticals, both of which are in the preclinical stages of developing a coronavirus vaccine. Inovio had terminated its lobbying agreement with the consulting firm McGuireWoods in December, but quickly re-hired the company in light of the emerging pandemic. Arcturus had never had a contracted lobbying firm in Washington, but paid Avenue Strategies $30,000 for the period between April 1 and 17, according to disclosures.” [STAT News, 4/20/20]Inovio’s Lobbyist At McGuireWoods Was Robert Wasinger. [Lobbying Registration – McGuireWoods, filed 4/13/20]

Wasinger Previously Served As Trump Campaign Official And Worked At State Department On Trump’s Transition Team. “After a quick tour through government service, a former appointee in President Trump’s State Department has registered to work as a lobbyist for the telecom and pharmaceutical industries, raising questions about the reach of an ethics pledge required by Trump. Robert Wasinger, a former Trump campaign official and transition team member, served briefly as White House liaison to the State Department before joining McGuireWoods Consulting as senior vice president of its federal public affairs group last month.” [Washington Post, 3/29/17]

Wasinger Left State Department Before Signing Ethics Pledge And Registered As A Lobbyist For Inovio And Other Clients Just Weeks Later. “Last week, he registered as a lobbyist for Verizon and Inovio Pharmaceuticals, according to filings. His State Department tenure was first flagged by the liberal opposition research group American Bridge. He is the second known Trump appointee who left the administration without signing a pledge to limit his lobbying activities.” [Washington Post, 3/29/17]

Headline: Washington Post: “A former Trump administration appointee who left without signing ethics pledge is now a lobbyist.” [Washington Post, 3/29/17]

McGuireWoods, In Announcing Wasinger’s Hire, Highlighted How His Experience In Working With Trump Would “Help Us Achieve Superior Outcomes For Our Clients.” ““We welcome Rob to McGuireWoods Consulting and are excited about the experience he brings both from the new president and from his senior staff experience in Congress to help us achieve superior outcomes for our clients,” said MWC Executive Vice President and Director Frank Donatelli, who leads the federal government relations practice.” [McGuireWoods press release, 2/15/17]

Pharma Companies & Former Trump Official Emily Felder

Emily Felder Served As Director Of Office Of Legislation For CMS In Trump Administration From 2017-2019. [LinkedIn – Emily Felder, accessed 4/21/20]

Felder Joined Brownstein Hyatt In Early 2019, Planned To Register As Lobbyist To Advise Pharmaceutical Companies Facing House Oversight Investigations. “Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck is adding Emily Felder to its health care practice and Reese Goldsmith to its energy and environment practice. Felder, who will be a senior policy adviser and counsel, was previously director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ legislative office and before that worked for the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The firm anticipates she’ll register as a lobbyist and work on the House Oversight and Reform Committee’s upcoming investigations of pharmaceutical companies. “I think she’ll be able to guide them and help them navigate” the investigations, Marc Lampkin, the firm’s Washington managing partner, told PI.” [Politico Influence, 1/29/19]

Felder’s Lobbying Clients At Brownstein Included AbbVie, Amgen, Eli Lilly, Johnson & Johnson And Novartis.[Lobbying Disclosure Act Database, accessed 4/21/20]

Felder Reported Lobbying Congress On Coronavirus-Related Issues On Behalf Of AbbVie, Johnson & Johnson And Novartis. [Lobbying Disclosure Act Database, accessed 4/21/20]

Felder Reported Lobbying The Office Of The Vice President On Coronavirus-Related Issues On Behalf Of Medical Device Group AdvaMed. [Lobbying Report – Brownstein Hyatt, filed 4/19/20]

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