Drug companies in opioid crisis donated $27K to Ohio’s Ryan

Oct 5, 2022, 11:30 AM | Updated: 9:18 pm
FILE—Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, running for an open U.S. Senate seat in Ohio, speaks, May 3, 2022, in...

FILE—Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, running for an open U.S. Senate seat in Ohio, speaks, May 3, 2022, in Columbus, Ohio. Ryan, who has made his opponent's questionable record fighting the opioid epidemic a central theme of his campaign for Ohio's open U.S. Senate seat, has accepted campaign donations over the years from drug distributors blamed for key roles in the crisis, an Associated Press review found. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete, File)

(AP Photo/Jay LaPrete, File)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, who has made his opponent’s questionable record fighting the opioid epidemic a central theme of his campaign for Ohio’s open U.S. Senate seat, has received campaign donations over the years from drug distributors blamed for key roles in the crisis, an Associated Press review found.

The contributions to Ryan from AmerisourceBergen, McKesson and Dublin, Ohio-based Cardinal Health, the three biggest drug distribution companies in the U.S., came in between 2007 and August of this year.

Earlier this year, the companies finalized a $21 billion settlement with state, local and Native American tribal governments and others over the toll of the opioid crisis. The settlement is the largest over opioid claims and keeps the companies from facing thousands of lawsuits.

The trio’s combined giving to Ryan of $27,000 represents a fraction of the $50 million he has collected over the course of his career. Still, contributions from those donors are notable as Ryan hammers the spotty record of the anti-opioid nonprofit started by his Republican opponent, “Hillbilly Elegy” author JD Vance.

Ryan’s campaign spokesperson called him “one of Congress’ most outspoken fighters against the opioid epidemic.” She noted that Cardinal is a major Ohio employer and the companies’ donations represent just one-fifth of 1% of the $17 million Ryan raised this quarter alone.

Vance’s nonprofit, Our Ohio Renewal, spent far more than that “for political polling and consultant fees to his top political advisor — when it wasn’t promoting a Purdue Pharma-linked doctor with a reputation for downplaying the deadly threat of OxyContin,” spokesperson Izzi Levy said.

Vance’s campaign said accepting the donations represented “shameless hypocrisy” by Ryan. It had not yet reported its latest fundraising figures Wednesday.

Ryan and Vance are locked in a tight contest for the coveted open Senate seat being vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Rob Portman. Republicans see the seat as a critical one to hold if they hope to retake the Senate, while a flip to Democrats would be a major victory in the increasingly conservative-leaning state.

The distributor most generous to Ryan was from Cardinal Health Inc., a multinational health care services company headquartered in his home state. The company’s PAC has given him $21,000 since 2007, including $5,000 this August. McKesson Corp. Employees PAC gave Ryan $5,000 in 2012. Amerisource Bergen Corp. PAC gave him $1,000 in 2019. The opioid crisis was ongoing during all those years.

The three companies’ PACs have donated nearly $10.8 million combined to a wide range of candidates across the country since 2007, according to campaign finance figures compiled by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. About $4.5 million of that went to Democrats, and the other roughly $6.2 million went to Republicans. Vance’s campaign has not received any donations from the PACs.

Ryan’s early ads called Vance’s Our Ohio Renewal a “sham” that “didn’t fund a single addiction program” to fight the crisis, but rather backed efforts that “made it worse.” A second ad featured an August Associated Press article detailing a residency the nonprofit organized for an addiction doctor with links to Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin.

Vance has said that he did not know about the addiction doctor’s ties to Purdue Pharma, but that he “remains proud of her work to treat patients, especially those in an area of Ohio who needed it most.”

Ryan’s campaign said the congressman had helped bring funding to health care providers and law enforcement officials working to fight opioids and had worked to expand access to treatment for residents with substance abuse issues.

“Tim Ryan has a proven record of working across the aisle to combat this epidemic,” campaign spokesperson Levy said in a statement.

During the same years that the now-shuttered Our Ohio Renewal was operating in southern Ohio, Ryan was casting votes in Congress on a host of bills aimed at tackling various elements of the opioid crisis — sometimes for, sometimes against.

He voted overwhelmingly in support of such efforts — including co-sponsoring the INTERDICT Act praised by President Donald Trump for allocating $15 million to beef up illegal drug screenings on the southern border.

But Ryan also opposed several measures aimed at addressing opioid enforcement and addiction, the AP review found. Those included funding packages aimed at providing medical care to address the problem and legislation intended to crack down on illegal fentanyl trafficking. Levy said the congressman had policy objections to aspects of those bills.

Ryan also missed a vote in 2020 on legislation extending the Drug Enforcement Administration’s temporary order listing fentanyl-related substances as Schedule 1 controlled substances. Levy said he was attending a family funeral on that day.

__

Geoff Mulvihill in Cherry Hill, N.J., contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


              FILE - JD Vance, Republican candidate for U.S. Senator for Ohio, speaks at a campaign rally in Youngstown, Ohio., Sept. 17, 2022. Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, who has made his opponent's questionable record fighting the opioid epidemic a central theme of his campaign for Ohio's open U.S. Senate seat, has accepted campaign donations over the years from drug distributors blamed for key roles in the crisis, an Associated Press review found. (AP Photo/Tom E. Puskar, File)
            
              FILE—Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, running for an open U.S. Senate seat in Ohio, speaks, May 3, 2022, in Columbus, Ohio. Ryan, who has made his opponent's questionable record fighting the opioid epidemic a central theme of his campaign for Ohio's open U.S. Senate seat, has accepted campaign donations over the years from drug distributors blamed for key roles in the crisis, an Associated Press review found. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete, File)

AP

Associated Press

TV anchors T.J. Holmes, Amy Robach leave ABC amid romance

NEW YORK (AP) — T.J. Holmes and Amy Robach, anchors at the afternoon extension of ABC’s “Good Morning America,” are leaving the network after their romance was reported in November. The pair were taken off the air and placed on temporary hiatus after photos surfaced of them holding hands and spending time together. Both were […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

Delaware Gov. John Carney tests positive for COVID-19

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Delaware Gov. John Carney has tested positive for COVID-19, the governor’s office announced on Saturday. Carney tested positive late Friday using an at-home antigen test after experiencing mild symptoms, according to a news release. Carney, 66, said he’s “feeling fine” and is isolating himself — following U.S. Centers for Disease Control […]
13 hours ago
FILE - FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried leaves Manhattan federal court on Jan. 3, 2023, in New York, a...
Associated Press

FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, DOJ tussle over his communications

Federal prosecutors are trying to prohibit FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried from privately contacting current and former employees of the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange to prevent potential witness tampering in a criminal case accusing him of bilking investors and customers. The request, made in a letter filed late Friday by U.S. Justice Department lawyers, prompted an indignant […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

Challenge for Tunisian democracy: Getting voters to show up

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Tunisia was once the Arab world’s hope for a new era of democracy. Now it’s in the midst of an election that’s more of an embarrassment than a model. Barely 11% of voters turned out in the first round of parliamentary elections last month, boycotted by opposition Islamists and ignored by […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

Philippines probes labor abuses in Kuwait after new killing

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine government said Saturday it will take steps to assess and prevent abuses including rape and maltreatment of Filipino workers in Kuwait, after a housemaid was killed and dumped in a desert in the oil-rich emirate. The remains of Jullebee Ranara were flown home Friday night from Kuwait, where the […]
13 hours ago
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni speaks during a conference in Tripoli, Libya, Saturday, Jan. ...
Associated Press

Italy, Libya sign $8B gas deal as PM Meloni visits Tripoli

CAIRO (AP) — Italy’s prime minister held talks in Libya on Saturday with officials from the country’s west-based government focusing on energy and migration, top issues for Italy and the European Union. During the visit, the two countries’ oil companies signed a gas deal worth $8 billion — the largest single investment in Libya’s energy […]
13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Company looking for oldest air conditioner and wants to reward homeowner with new one

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.
(Pexels Photo)...

Sports gambling can be fun for adults, but it’s a dangerous game for children

While adults may find that sports gambling is a way to enhance the experience with more than just fandom on the line, it can be a dangerous proposition if children get involved in the activity.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
Drug companies in opioid crisis donated $27K to Ohio’s Ryan