LITTLE TO PALLONE: WHAT OTHER DECISIONS DID YOU TRY TO INFLUENCE BECAUSE SOMEBODY GAVE YOU CAMPAIGN CASH?
(HIGHLANDS, October 15) – Republican Congressional challenger Anna Little – continuing to highlight a report in The New York Times indicating that her opponent, 22-year incumbent Frank Pallone, worked to overturn a decision by the Food and Drug Administration after receiving campaign contributions from a medical device manufacturer whose device had been unanimously rejected on multiple occasions by FDA scientific reviewers – today called on Pallone to explain the exact nature of the transaction.
“Yesterday, The New York Times published a disturbing report about our Congressman, Frank Pallone, using his influence to get the FDA to approve a medical device after receiving campaign contributions from the device manufacturer,” said Little. “So yesterday, we challenged Rep. Pallone to tell us what OTHER federal government agencies he’s influenced on behalf of campaign contributors.
“Today, we’d like to go back to the original transaction, and get some more detail from Mr. Pallone,” said Little.
“Specifically, we’d like answers to the following questions:
“When you accepted your first contribution from an executive of the device manufacturer in December 2007, did you know then that he was hoping you would look favorably upon his request for help with the FDA? Put another way, was the campaign contribution — $2300, the maximum then allowed by law – the first you had heard of the device manufacturer and its problem with the FDA?
“If not – that is, if you knew of the device manufacturer’s problems with the FDA BEFORE you accepted the contribution – did you or anyone on your congressional or campaign staff (including fundraising consultants) indicate to the executive that his request would be far more likely to be given favorable consideration if it were accompanied by a contribution?
“If yes – that is, if you did NOT know of the device manufacturer’s problems with the FDA at the time you accepted the contribution – at what point, exactly, DID you become aware of the problems with the FDA? And at that point, did the fact that you had already accepted a contribution from an executive of the company raise any questions at all in your mind as to the propriety of offering assistance to a campaign contributor?
“The timing of the two contributions – the first, in December 2007, the second, in October 2008 – certainly seems interesting, given that the heavy lifting of the influence exerted by your office appears to have begun in December 2007. Would it be reasonable to draw the conclusion that the December 2007 contribution was an enticement to action, and the October 2008 contribution a ‘thank you’ for a job well done? If not, why not?
“We have many more questions for Mr. Pallone on this matter,” said Little. “But we don’t want to overtax him the way he overtaxes us. So we’ll just leave it here for now.
“Remember, you cannot change Washington without changing the people we send to Washington!”
Yesterday’s New York Times report: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/15/health/policy/15fda.html?_r=2
Last year’s New York Times report: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/25/health/policy/25knee.html