Tag: Devin LeMahieu

How Wisconsin GOP state legislators encouraged Mylan to increase EpiPen prices for the entire country

Thanks to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign (WDC), a group that maintains a database of political contributions to state candidates in Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin progressive group Citizen Action of Wisconsin, we now know that a political action committee (PAC) for Mylan, the pharmaceutical company that, among other things, makes the EpiPen that is used to treat severe allergic reactions, has publicly lobbied Republican members of the Wisconsin State Legislature to pass legislation designed to financially benefit the company. According to records from WDC, a total of ten members of the Wisconsin Legislature received campaign contributions from Mypac WI, the Wisconsin state-level PAC for Mylan’s political operations, seven of whom are still in the Legislature, and one of whom is now a member of the Wisconsin Ethics Commission:

Legislator Name Date Contribution Received House of Legis. At Time of Donation Amount
Last First Year Month Day
Edming James 2016 July 1 Wisconsin State Assembly $500
Craig David 2016 June 27 Wisconsin State Assembly $500
LeMahieu Devin 2015 November 17 Wisconsin State Senate $500
Vukmir Leah 2015 August 22 Wisconsin State Senate $500
Nygren John 2014 February 10 Wisconsin State Assembly $250
August Tyler 2014 January 18 Wisconsin State Assembly $500
Kramer Bill 2014 January 13 Wisconsin State Assembly $250
Severson Erik 2014 January 7 Wisconsin State Assembly $250
Steineke Jim 2014 January 7 Wisconsin State Assembly $250
Strachota Pat 2014 January 2 Wisconsin State Assembly $250
Name in italics indicates that individual is no longer a state legislator as of the writing of this blog post, but was a state legislator at the time donation was received; of the three who are no longer state legislators, Pat Strachota is now a member of the Wisconsin Ethics Commission. Table was created using the HTML table generator available here.

Mylan has also spent a total of $66,500 since 2013 lobbying Wisconsin legislators on issues “…affecting the manufacture, distribution, or sale of prescription drugs and medical devices”, as well as on issues “relating to generic pharmaceuticals”. According to Wisconsin lobbying records, Mylan spent $42,000 and a total of 151 hours on lobbying efforts in Wisconsin during the 2013-2014 state legislative session, and Mylan spent $24,500 and a total of 103 hours on lobbying efforts in Wisconsin during the 2015-2016 state legislative session. In both legislative sessions, Mylan’s sole authorized lobbyist was listed as Robert Welch.

Two pieces of legislation, both of which are now Wisconsin state law, were heavily supported by, and were designed to financially benefit, Mylan: 2013 Wisconsin Act 239, and 2015 Wisconsin Act 35. 2013 Wisconsin Act 239 allows for the availability of, and, in appropriate emergency situations, the use of “epinephrine auto-injectors” in Wisconsin public, private, and tribal schools. 2015 Wisconsin Act 35 allows for the availability of, and, in appropriate emergency situations, the use of “epinephrine auto-injectors” “by certain authorized entities”, which include recreational camps, educational camps, colleges, universities, day care facilities, youth sports leagues, amusement parks, restaurants, businesses, and sports arenas. Neither of the two laws require Mylan to justify price increases to government officials in Wisconsin, even though the laws authorize state and local government entities in Wisconsin to purchase and maintain EpiPens at the expense of Wisconsin taxpayers. While the two pieces of legislation serve a public purpose, given that timely dispensation of epinephrine can save the life of a person having a severe allergic reaction, given that Mylan’s EpiPen dominates the marketplace for epinephrine auto-injectors, and that EpiPen prices have risen dramatically as recently as earlier this month, it’s clear to me that Mylan’s political lobbying efforts in Wisconsin are designed to financially benefit the company, as well as financially benefit the political campaigns of Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin.

I do not have any food allergies that require the use of epinephrine, but many Americans in all 50 states do. I find it disgusting that A) Mylan is drastically raising the price of a very important drug/device without any real justification and B) that, because of Mylan’s actions, taxpayers are being forced to spend more money than necessary on their medicine, which many people need. Furthermore, by not including any kind of accountability measure on Mylan that would have required Mylan to legally justify any kind of price increase to Wisconsin officials, Wisconsin Republicans have effectively encouraged Mylan to raise the price of EpiPens for the entire country.

Purported Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chairperson candidate Martha Laning ran ad praising Republicans during failed state senate campaign

If you thought the consultant class’s candidate for Chairperson of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Jason Rae, was bad, it’s being reported that, believe it or not, a candidate who is arguably as bad as Jason Rae is going to enter the race for DPW chair.

Martha Laning, who lost a Wisconsin State Senate race in the Manitowoc/Sheboygan region of the state last year by a huge margin to far-right Republican and corporate media hack Devin LeMahieu, reportedly intends to announce a bid for DPW chair sometime later today at the DPW County Chairs Association (DPW CCA) meeting in Plover, Wisconsin, and that political fundraiser Mary Lang Sollinger will drop out of the race at or around the same time Laning announces her bid for DPW chair. This is being reported by two authors of the Wisconsin-based progressive blog Blogging Blue, citing unnamed sources.

During her failed state senate campaign, Laning ran a campaign that was completely out of touch with reality. Despite all of the damage that far-right Republican Scott Walker did in his first term as Governor of Wisconsin, including busting unions, forcing Wisconsin women who wish to have an abortion undergo a forced ultrasound, repealing Wisconsin’s equal pay law, giving out corporate welfare to political cronies, and gutting public education, Laning ran a TV ad for her state senate campaign in which she praised Republicans and bizarrely claimed that Republicans have good ideas:

Having watched the ad on YouTube at least once during her state senate campaign that I can remember (I don’t live in Wisconsin, so the only way I can view Wisconsin-based political ads is if the candidates themselves upload them to a website where non-Wisconsinites can view them), watching that ad nearly made me vomit, to be honest with you. I’ve never seen a Democrat run an ad that was as out of touch with political reality as the one Laning ran in her Wisconsin State Senate campaign last year.

Steve Carlson of Blogging Blue reported that Laning moderated an event that was billed by Laning and 3rd Congressional District of Wisconsin Chairwoman Lisa Herman as a Democratic forum in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, and it appears that someone was pulling quite a few strings for Laning:

What’s interesting about this impending announcement is that Laning made an appearance not quite two weeks ago in Stevens Point, not far from Plover, at what was billed by both her and 3rd congressional district Chair Lisa Hermann as a Democratic Forum, ostensibly held to chart a path forward for democrats across Wisconsin. But here’s where it gets curious.

Laning moderated the event the entire day, which lasted maybe seven hours. Not Lisa Hermann, a long time democrat and CD Chair, not Penny Bernard Schaber, who was in attendance, nor any of the other long time democrats who were in attendance, but Martha Laning, a woman whose engaged involvement with the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, as far as I know, consists of a single run for state senate over the last couple of years. And she was up in front of the crowd the entire day. Hmmm.

And what’s even more curious is that all of the announced candidates for Chair of the DPW were encouraged to attend, and most of them did, but they were informed in advance that they would not be allowed to speak to the assembled gathering, nor were they to hand out any literature regarding their respective campaigns. Hmmmmmm.

Furthermore, Zach Wisniewski of Blogging Blue reported that Laning’s yet-to-be-announced candidacy for DPW chair is backed by the “money people” within the DPW who want a chairperson who will serve them and not rank-and-file Wisconsin Democrats, and that Laning herself is not strongly progressive when it comes to labor unions, economic policy, and abortion:

According to my source, Laning’s candidacy would represent efforts by the “money people” within the party to elect the DPW Chair they want. “They want to make someone chair who has been a member for less than two years and is totally unreliable on labor, economic issues, abortion rights, etc. It’s unbelievable,” said the source, noting Joe Wineke, Jeff Smith, and Jason Rae are all reliably progressive while in the opinion of my source Martha Laning isn’t as reliably progressive.

Corporate Democrats like Mary Burke and Martha Laning tried a strategy in 2014 of praising Republicans and running away from progressives, labor unions, and the middle class at nearly every opportunity, and it failed miserably in Wisconsin and many other states because it did nothing to win over persuadable voters while turning off progressives to the point that many of them didn’t vote in the November 2014 elections. Either Jason Rae or Martha Laning would be as big of a disaster, if not even more of a disaster, as DPW chair than Mike Tate has been for the past six years. Given how important Wisconsin is to the 2016 elections, Wisconsin, and, for that matter, America, can’t afford a DPW chair candidate who would run the same failed strategy or an even worse strategy.