Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent vaccine rollout, pharmaceutical giants including Pfizer and Moderna have substantially increased their lobbying efforts, a National Pulse investigation has revealed.
The lobbying apparatuses at both vaccine-reliant companies – in terms of the number of lobbyists hired and the overall budget deployed to influence government officials – have seen dramatic increases since 2019.
The news comes one day after hidden camera footage revealed a Pfizer scientist admitting: “Basically, our organization is run on COVID money now.”
Democrat Operatives Turn Vax Lobbyists.
Many of the new Big Pharma hires have come from consulting firms with deep and historical links to the current White House, and President Joe Biden himself.
In October alone Pfizer tapped Sudafi Henry, Joe Biden’s former legislative affairs director from his days as Vice President.
Another recent hire is Kwabena Nsiah, a former staffer for Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra and top aide to director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.
Nsiah also worked in Congress for over eight years, most recently as Policy Director for the Congressional Black Caucus and on the Joint Economic Committee as a Senior Policy Advisor.
RINOs Turn Vax Lobbyists, Too.
Among Pfizer’s robust lobbying team are alumni of Republican presidential administrations and Congressional offices.
Justin McCarthy, who served under George W. Bush as a Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs, and Ben Howard, who served as a Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs under Donald Trump, both lobby for the pharmaceutical giant.
Pfizer, which recently received approval for a third booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine, has substantially increased its lobbying budget. In 2019, the company spent $11,000,000 on lobbying efforts before increasing the total to $13,150,000 – the highest total since 2010.
In 2019, the company retained 77 lobbyists before the total grew to a team of 102 lobbyists in 2020. So far in 2021, Pfizer has declared 92 lobbyists.
While Moderna retained just one lobbyist throughout all of 2019 and added one lobbyist the following year, in 2021, the company has already hired an additional twelve lobbyists, representing a 600 percent increase in the company’s total lobbying force.
In 2019, Moderna spent $40,000 on lobbying and $280,000 in 2020, and just halfway into 2021, the company has already spent $290,000.
The real scandal, however, is represented in the sheer number of political operatives who have recently gone on to work for Big Pharma, from both Democrat and Republican offices.
The National Pulse has assembled a list of those declared by Pfizer and Moderna alone, below. The list includes their previous jobs or affiliations. Of the 83 listed below, many come from high level backgrounds such as the White House, presidential candidates, the Speaker of the House’s office, and a number of congressional offices.
The swamp, revealed:
- Justin McCarthy, Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs under President George W. Bush
- Brian Arthur Pomper, Chief International Trade Counsel to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus
- Bill Morley, General Counsel to Senator Arlen Specter
- Remy Brim, Senior Health Policy Advisor to Senator Elizabeth Warren
- Mark Mioduski, Democratic Clerk for the Committee on Appropriations in the U.S. House of Representatives
- Brian Griffin, Senior Leadership Advisor and Floor Policy Director for Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Senator Byron Dorgan
- Ben Howard, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs under President Donald Trump
- Kate Keating, Chief of Staff to Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus Congressman Joseph Crowley
- David Schiappa, Secretary to Senate Republican Leaders
- Lavita Legrys, Director at the Office of Legislative Affairs in the Department of Homeland Security under President Barack Obama
- Mike Mckay, Senior Policy Advisor to Congressman Gregory Meeks
- Cristina Antelo, Legal Fellow with the Senate Democratic Steering Committee
- Tom Davis, former Congressman
- Michael Werner, Policy Advisor to Senate Democrats Policy Committee
- Daniel Elling, Staff Director for the House Committee on Ways and Means
- Cookab Hashemi, Chief of Staff to Representative Raul Ruiz and Representative Jackie Speier
- Robert Holifield, Staff Director of the Senate Agriculture Committee
- Hannah Smith, Legislative Correspondent to Senator Blanche Lincoln
- Blanche Lincoln, Former Senator and Congresswoman
- Colin Roskey, Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services under President Trump
- Thomas Scully, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under President Bush.
- Brian Diffell, Legislative Director to Senator Roy Blunt
- Kelli Briggs, Chief of Staff to Representative Pat Tiberi
- Anne Wilson, Legislative Director to Representative Anna G. Eshoo
- Peter Wallace, Legislative Correspondent to Representative Ric Keller
- Katharine Hayes, Legislative Correspondent to Representative Mark Schauer
- Akshai Datta, Senior Legislative Assistant to Representative Ami Bera
- Darrel Thompson, Deputy Chief of Staff for Intergovernmental and External Affairs to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
- Shanti Ochs Stanton, Floor Assistant to the Democratic Leaders Office
- Natalie Farr, Chief of Staff to Senator Cory Gardner
- Steven Elmendorf, Chief of Staff to House Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt
- Steven Irizarry, Senior Counsel for Senate Special Committee on Aging
- Stephen Northrup, Health Policy Advisor to Senator Michael Enzi
- Jennifer Swenson, Deputy Legislative Director to Senator Pat Roberts
- Catherine Robinson, Law Clerk on the Committee on Ways and Means
- Emily Mueller, Deputy Legislative Director to Senator Pat Roberts
- Stephen Claeys, Trade Counsel on the Committee on Ways and Means
- Paula Burg, Director and Senior Advisor for Health and Entitlements on the Senate Budget Committee
- Elissa Alben, Senior Counsel for International Trade and Competitiveness on the Senate Committee on Finance
- Karissa Willhite, Deputy Chief of Staff to Senator Robert Menendez
- Gordon Taylor, Chief of Staff to Representative Chris John
- Tucker Shumack, Tax and Finance Counsel to Senator Olympia Snowe
- Todd Novascone, Chief of Staff to Senator Jerry Moran
- Jerome Murray, Chief of Staff to Representative Stacey Plaskett
- Moses Mercado, Deputy Chief of Staff to Representative Richard Gephardt
- Tim McGivern, Chief of Staff to Senator Jim Brownback
- Chris Giblin, Chief of Staff to Representative John Carter
- Tony Bullock, Chief of Staff to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan
- Dee Buchanan, Chief of Staff to House Republican Conference
- Dean Aguillen, Advisor to Speaker Nancy Pelosi
- Eden Shiferaw, Representative Marcia Fudge
- Jane Loewenson, Senior Health Policy Advisor to Democratic Leader Tom Daschle
- Andrea LaRue, Counsel to Democratic Leader Tom Daschle
- Brady King, Chief of Staff to Congresswoman Kendra S. Horn
- Joshua Fay Hurvitz, Legislative Director to Representative Anthony D. Weiner
- Lisa German Foster, Senior Policy Advisor to Senator Jack Reed
- Irene Bueno, Special Assistant to President Bill Clinton in the Domestic Policy Council and Chief of Staff’s Office
- Ashley Gunn, Senior Director of Cabinet Affairs to President Trump
- Monica Popp, Chief of Staff to Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn
- Hazen Marshall, Policy Director to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell
- Christopher Wilcox, Staff Assistant to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan
- Marti Thomas, Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs under President Clinton
- Karina Lynch, Legislative Director to Representative Scott McInnis
- Cheryl Jager, Senior Health Policy Advisor for House Republican Leadership
- Matthew Hoekstra, Legislative Director for Senator Ben Lujan
- Susan Hirschmann, Chief of Staff to Representative Van Hilleary
- Christopher Hatcher, Legislative Director to Representative Scott McInnis
- Ann Marie Buerkle, Congresswoman
- Shimon Stein, Senior Advisor to House Majority Leader/Republican Whip
- Kristi Remington, Deputy Assistant Attorney General at the Department of Justice under President Obama
- Malloy McDaniel, Policy Advisor to Senator Mitch McConnell
- Craig Kalkut, Chief Counsel of Senate Antitrust Subcommittee
- Ashley Davis, Special Assistant to Director of Homeland Security Tom Ridge under President Bush
- Greg Nickerson, Tax Counsel to Representative Bill Thomas
- Darren Willcox, Assistant to Speaker Dennis Hastert for Health Policy
- Erin Strawn, Legislative Associate to Representative Joe Cunningham
- Valerie Henry, Senior Policy Advisor to Congressman Greg Walden
- James Derderian, Chief of Staff to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce
- Carmencita Whonder, Advisor on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee to Senator Chuck Schumer
- Marc Lampkin, General Counsel for the House Republican Conference
- Araceli Gutierrez, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Graduate Fellow
- Emily Felder, Counsel to the House Energy and Commerce Committee
- Nadeam Elshami, Chief of Staff to Representative Nancy Pelosi