REVEALED: Pfizer Lobbying Hits Decade High as DOZENS of High-Profile Political Appointees Become Big Pharma Reps.

Republicans and Democrats alike are now working for the Big Pharma lobby.

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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.

From left to right are: Vice President Joe Biden; Bruce Reed, Chief of Staff to the Vice President; Sudafi Henry, Assistant to the Vice President for Legislative Affairs; and Rob Nabors, Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

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.

David Schiappa, a longtime Republican staff member of the Senate holding the role of Secretary for Leader Mitch McConnell, is also lobbying for Pfizer.

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.

Pfizer Lobbying.

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.

Moderna Lobbying.

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.

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The swamp, revealed:

Pfizer.

  1. Justin McCarthy, Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs under President George W. Bush
  2. Brian Arthur Pomper, Chief International Trade Counsel to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus
  3. Bill Morley, General Counsel to Senator Arlen Specter
  4. Remy Brim, Senior Health Policy Advisor to Senator Elizabeth Warren
  5. Mark Mioduski, Democratic Clerk for the Committee on Appropriations in the U.S. House of Representatives
  6. Brian Griffin, Senior Leadership Advisor and Floor Policy Director for Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Senator Byron Dorgan
  7. Ben Howard, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs under President Donald Trump
  8. Kate Keating, Chief of Staff to Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus Congressman Joseph Crowley
  9. David Schiappa, Secretary to Senate Republican Leaders
  10. Lavita Legrys, Director at the Office of Legislative Affairs in the Department of Homeland Security under President Barack Obama
  11. Mike Mckay, Senior Policy Advisor to Congressman Gregory Meeks
  12. Cristina Antelo, Legal Fellow with the Senate Democratic Steering Committee
  13. Tom Davis, former Congressman
  14. Michael Werner, Policy Advisor to Senate Democrats Policy Committee
  15. Daniel Elling, Staff Director for the House Committee on Ways and Means
  16. Cookab Hashemi, Chief of Staff to Representative Raul Ruiz and Representative Jackie Speier
  17. Robert Holifield, Staff Director of the Senate Agriculture Committee
  18. Hannah Smith, Legislative Correspondent to Senator Blanche Lincoln
  19. Blanche Lincoln, Former Senator and Congresswoman
  20. Colin Roskey, Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services under President Trump
  21. Thomas Scully, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under President Bush.
  22. Brian Diffell, Legislative Director to Senator Roy Blunt
  23. Kelli Briggs, Chief of Staff to Representative Pat Tiberi
  24. Anne Wilson, Legislative Director to Representative Anna G. Eshoo
  25. Peter Wallace, Legislative Correspondent to Representative Ric Keller
  26. Katharine Hayes, Legislative Correspondent to Representative Mark Schauer
  27. Akshai Datta, Senior Legislative Assistant to Representative Ami Bera
  28. Darrel Thompson, Deputy Chief of Staff for Intergovernmental and External Affairs to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
  29. Shanti Ochs Stanton, Floor Assistant to the Democratic Leaders Office
  30. Natalie Farr, Chief of Staff to Senator Cory Gardner
  31. Steven Elmendorf, Chief of Staff to House Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt
  32. Steven Irizarry, Senior Counsel for Senate Special Committee on Aging
  33. Stephen Northrup, Health Policy Advisor to Senator Michael Enzi
  34. Jennifer Swenson, Deputy Legislative Director to Senator Pat Roberts
  35. Catherine Robinson, Law Clerk on the Committee on Ways and Means
  36. Emily Mueller, Deputy Legislative Director to Senator Pat Roberts
  37. Stephen Claeys, Trade Counsel on the Committee on Ways and Means
  38. Paula Burg, Director and Senior Advisor for Health and Entitlements on the Senate Budget Committee
  39. Elissa Alben, Senior Counsel for International Trade and Competitiveness on the Senate Committee on Finance
  40. Karissa Willhite, Deputy Chief of Staff to Senator Robert Menendez
  41. Gordon Taylor, Chief of Staff to Representative Chris John
  42. Tucker Shumack, Tax and Finance Counsel to Senator Olympia Snowe
  43. Todd Novascone, Chief of Staff to Senator Jerry Moran
  44. Jerome Murray, Chief of Staff to Representative Stacey Plaskett
  45. Moses Mercado, Deputy Chief of Staff to Representative Richard Gephardt
  46. Tim McGivern, Chief of Staff to Senator Jim Brownback
  47. Chris Giblin, Chief of Staff to Representative John Carter
  48. Tony Bullock, Chief of Staff to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan
  49. Dee Buchanan, Chief of Staff to House Republican Conference
  50. Dean Aguillen, Advisor to Speaker Nancy Pelosi
  51. Eden Shiferaw, Representative Marcia Fudge
  52. Jane Loewenson, Senior Health Policy Advisor to Democratic Leader Tom Daschle
  53. Andrea LaRue, Counsel to Democratic Leader Tom Daschle
  54. Brady King, Chief of Staff to Congresswoman Kendra S. Horn
  55. Joshua Fay Hurvitz, Legislative Director to Representative Anthony D. Weiner
  56. Lisa German Foster, Senior Policy Advisor to Senator Jack Reed
  57. Irene Bueno, Special Assistant to President Bill Clinton in the Domestic Policy Council and Chief of Staff’s Office
  58. Ashley Gunn,  Senior Director of Cabinet Affairs to President Trump
  59. Monica Popp, Chief of Staff to Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn
  60. Hazen Marshall, Policy Director to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell
  61. Christopher Wilcox, Staff Assistant to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan
  62. Marti Thomas, Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs under President Clinton
  63. Karina Lynch, Legislative Director to Representative Scott McInnis
  64. Cheryl Jager, Senior Health Policy Advisor for House Republican Leadership
  65. Matthew Hoekstra, Legislative Director for Senator Ben Lujan
  66. Susan Hirschmann, Chief of Staff to Representative Van Hilleary
  67. Christopher Hatcher, Legislative Director to Representative Scott McInnis
  68. Ann Marie Buerkle, Congresswoman
  69. Shimon Stein, Senior Advisor to House Majority Leader/Republican Whip
  70. Kristi Remington, Deputy Assistant Attorney General at the Department of Justice under President Obama
  71. Malloy McDaniel, Policy Advisor to Senator Mitch McConnell
  72. Craig Kalkut, Chief Counsel of Senate Antitrust Subcommittee
  73. Ashley Davis, Special Assistant to Director of Homeland Security Tom Ridge under President Bush
  74. Greg Nickerson, Tax Counsel to Representative Bill Thomas
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Moderna.

  1. Darren Willcox, Assistant to Speaker Dennis Hastert for Health Policy
  2. Erin Strawn, Legislative Associate to Representative Joe Cunningham
  3. Valerie Henry, Senior Policy Advisor to Congressman Greg Walden
  4. James Derderian, Chief of Staff to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce
  5. Carmencita Whonder, Advisor on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee to Senator Chuck Schumer
  6. Marc Lampkin, General Counsel for the House Republican Conference
  7. Araceli Gutierrez, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Graduate Fellow
  8. Emily Felder, Counsel to the House Energy and Commerce Committee
  9. Nadeam Elshami, Chief of Staff to Representative Nancy Pelosi

Natalie Winters and Raheem Kassam

Raheem Kassam is the Editor in Chief of the National Pulse. Natalie Winters is a Senior Writing Fellow.