Columbus, Ohio – Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, who has made his opponent’s questionable file preventing the opioid epidemic a central theme of his marketing campaign for Ohio’s open U.S. Senate seat, has obtained marketing campaign donations over time from drug distributors blamed for key roles in the crisis, an Associated Press assessment discovered.
The contributions to Ryan from AmerisourceBergen, McKesson and Dublin, Ohio-based Cardinal Health, the three largest drug distribution companies in the U.S., got here in between 2007 and August of this yr.
Earlier this yr, the companies finalized a $21 billion settlement with state, native and Native American tribal governments and others over the toll of the opioid crisis. The settlement is the most important over opioid claims and retains the companies from dealing with 1000’s of lawsuits.
The trio’s mixed giving to Ryan of $27,000 represents a fraction of the $50 million he has collected over the course of his profession. Still, contributions from these donors are notable as Ryan hammers the spotty file of the anti-opioid nonprofit began by his Republican opponent, “Hillbilly Elegy” creator JD Vance.
Ryan’s marketing campaign spokesperson referred to as him “one of Congress’ most outspoken fighters against the opioid epidemic.” She famous that Cardinal is a significant Ohio employer and the companies’ donations signify simply one-fifth of 1% of the $17 million Ryan raised this quarter alone.
Vance’s nonprofit, Our Ohio Renewal, spent way over that “for political polling and consultant fees to his top political advisor – when it wasn’t promoting a Purdue Pharma-linked doctor with a reputation for downplaying the deadly threat of OxyContin,” spokesperson Izzi Levy mentioned.
Vance’s marketing campaign mentioned accepting the donations represented “shameless hypocrisy” by Ryan. It had not but reported its newest fundraising figures Wednesday.
Ryan and Vance are locked in a decent contest for the coveted open Senate seat being vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Rob Portman. Republicans see the seat as a important one to maintain in the event that they hope to retake the Senate, whereas a flip to Democrats can be a significant victory in the more and more conservative-leaning state.
The distributor most beneficiant to Ryan was from Cardinal Health Inc., a multinational well being care companies firm headquartered in his residence state. The firm’s PAC has given him $21,000 since 2007, together with $5,000 this August. McKesson Corp. Employees PAC gave Ryan $5,000 in 2012. Amerisource Bergen Corp. PAC gave him $1,000 in 2019. The opioid crisis was ongoing throughout all these years.
The three companies’ PACs have donated almost $10.8 million mixed to a variety of candidates throughout the nation since 2007, in accordance to marketing campaign finance figures compiled by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. About $4.5 million of that went to Democrats, and the opposite roughly $6.2 million went to Republicans. Vance’s marketing campaign has not obtained any donations from the PACs.
Ryan’s early advertisements referred to as Vance’s Our Ohio Renewal a “sham” that “didn’t fund a single addiction program” to struggle the crisis, however fairly backed efforts that “made it worse.” A second advert featured an August Associated Press article detailing a residency the nonprofit organized for an habit physician with hyperlinks to Purdue Pharma, the producer of OxyContin.
Vance has mentioned that he didn’t know in regards to the habit physician’s ties to Purdue Pharma, however that he “remains proud of her work to treat patients, especially those in an area of Ohio who needed it most.”
Ryan’s marketing campaign mentioned the congressman had helped deliver funding to well being care suppliers and legislation enforcement officers working to struggle opioids and had labored to broaden entry to remedy for residents with substance abuse points.
“Tim Ryan has a proven record of working across the aisle to combat this epidemic,” marketing campaign spokesperson Levy mentioned in an announcement.
During the identical years that the now-shuttered Our Ohio Renewal was working in southern Ohio, Ryan was casting votes in Congress on a bunch of payments aimed toward tackling varied parts of the opioid crisis – typically for, typically towards.
He voted overwhelmingly in help of such efforts – together with co-sponsoring the INTERDICT Act praised by President Donald Trump for allocating $15 million to beef up unlawful drug screenings on the southern border.
But Ryan additionally opposed a number of measures aimed toward addressing opioid enforcement and habit, the AP assessment discovered. Those included funding packages aimed toward offering medical care to handle the issue and laws meant to crack down on unlawful fentanyl trafficking. Levy mentioned the congressman had coverage objections to points of these payments.
Ryan additionally missed a vote in 2020 on laws extending the Drug Enforcement Administration’s short-term order itemizing fentanyl-related substances as Schedule 1 managed substances. Levy mentioned he was attending a household funeral on that day.
Geoff Mulvihill in Cherry Hill, N.J., contributed to this report.