FEBRUARY 26, 2008
In a violation of House Ethics Rules, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has introduced legislation that will financially benefit a pharmaceutical company that she owns stock in and another that has donated heavily to her campaign and employs two of her former senior staffers as lobbyists.
Pelosi has a $500,000 investment in a pharmaceutical company (Johnson & Johnson) that will benefit financially from her new bill and will also help another firm (Amgen) hit hard when the U.S. government announced a cutback in taxpayer-finance coverage of its drug to treat low-income people infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Amgen, which employs several Pelosi former staffers as lobbyists, announced layoffs because its revenue dropped dramatically. The firm has donated big bucks to the House Speaker over the years.
To help the hurting company as well as the one she owns stock in, the veteran California Democratic congresswoman introduced a bill to expand government purchasing of their drugs. The Early Treatment for HIV Act (ETHA) will allow states to extend publicly financed benefits for HIV treatment to people who currently do not qualify.
This will clearly represent a huge increase in profits for the companies that makes the costly medication. The gesture didn’t go unnoticed by Amgen executives who gave Pelosi nearly $30,000 in campaign donations just days after she introduced the precious legislation that will make them rich.
House Ethics Rules state that a member of Congress may not use his or her official position for personal gain. In this case, Pelosi clearly violated those rules. It’s hardly the first time, however. Last year she quietly inserted a last-minute provision into an approved multi billion-dollar redevelopment bill that benefited her husband financially.
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