Most of you saw this story a few weeks ago, but just in case:
In a June 2009 email, President Obama’s point person on health care promised the pharmaceutical industry it would be protected against efforts to allow cheap drugs to be re-imported from Canada, because drug lobbyists had been “constructive” in their secret negotiations with White House officials.
The email is just one of thousands that House Republicans mined through as part of a more than a year-long investigation into Obama’s closed-door deal making with PhRMA, the drug industry lobbying group.
Though it was previously known that Obama had cut a deal with drug companies, a memo released today by the House Energy and Commerce Committee provides more specific details than have been previously reported.
The disclosures provide further evidence that once in office, Obama tossed aside his promises to be transparent and stand up to special interest groups.
Nancy DeParle, then director of the White House Office of Health Reform, wrote the following email to PhRMA’s chief lobbyist on June 3, 2009: “Yes – I pushed this to everyone (Messina, Rahm) is in Egypt with POTUS but Phil Schrillo, Dana Singlser and I made decision, based on how constructive you guys have been, to oppose importation on this bill.”
That September, top PhRMA lobbyist Bryant Hall reported to his coworkers in an email that he “had a good call w Messina,” and wrote: “Confidential: WH is working on some very explicit language on importation to kill it in health care reform. This has to stay quiet.”
Rewind to 2009. The fight over ObamaCare is raging, and a few news outlets report that something looks ethically rotten in the White House. An outside group funded by industry is paying the former firm of senior presidential adviser David Axelrod to run ads in favor of the bill. That firm, AKPD Message and Media, still owes Mr. Axelrod money and employs his son.
The story quickly died, but emails recently released by the House Energy and Commerce Committee ought to resurrect it. The emails suggest the White House was intimately involved both in creating this lobby and hiring Mr. Axelrod's firm—which is as big an ethical no-no as it gets.
Messrs. Axelrod and Messina are now in Chicago running Mr. Obama's campaign. Mr. Axelrod, the White House and a partner for AKPD didn't respond to requests for comment on their role in HEN, the tapping of Mr. Baldick, and the redolent hiring of AKPD. Until the White House explains all this, voters can fairly conclude that the President's political team took their Chicago brand of ethics into the White House.