Monday, February 20, 2017

Shady Pharma Lobbyist Had Dirty Think Tank Dealings

The Wall Street Journal has a new piece entitled "The Rise and Fall of a K Street Renegade" which details the scandalous activities of a top lobbyist for pharmaceutical giant Roche/Genentech, including shady activities related to think tank land.

Here is an excerpt:
In one example, Mr. [Evan] Morris hired Mr. Courtovich’s Sphere Consulting in 2012 for $880,000 to do policy work with think tanks, according to documents viewed by the Journal. Genentech paid Sphere two payments of $440,000 each on Nov. 1 and Dec. 1.
On Dec. 10, Mr. Courtovich’s firm sent a payment of $448,986.22 to Mr. Morris’s personal bank account.
Eric Lewis, a lawyer for Mr. Courtovich and Sphere Consulting, said the payment was to reimburse Mr. Morris for personal funds that he said he used for an event with the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington think tank. Mr. Lewis provided the Journal with an AEI invoice for $448,986.22 that Mr. Morris gave Sphere.
An AEI spokeswoman said the invoice was falsified.

Here is a picture of the fake AEI invoice.  While it is unclear if AEI ever got any money from Roche/Genentech, Think Tank Watch does know that the company did pay other think tanks, including the Brookings Institution, which received between $500,000 to $999,999 in 2014 from the company.

The pharmaceutical industry's donations to think tanks - both Republican and Democratic - have been well-documented (also here and here and here) and numerous of pharmaceutical companies give generous donations to a number of think tanks in both the US and elsewhere.