Fact Check: Highly Paid McConnell Campaign Manager, Big Pharma Lobbyist Launch Dark Money Attack Ad
Mitch McConnell’s highly paid cronies, including his former Campaign Manager and a lobbyist for big pharma, launched a dark money attack ad today, smearing Senator Hassan for taking on prescription drug special interests and for fighting to lower prescription drug costs.
“Mitch McConnell’s shady, dark money groups and pharma lobbyists are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars attacking Maggie Hassan, because they know that she will continue fighting to lower drug prices and allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices for seniors,” said NHDP Chair Ray Buckley. “McConnell and his Big Pharma donors are terrified of Maggie Hassan, because close to 90 percent of Americans support the work that she is doing to end their stranglehold on drug prices and make prescription drugs more affordable for families and seniors. Granite Staters see right through McConnell’s pathetic attempts to buy New Hampshire’s Senate seat for his special interest donors, and they know that Maggie Hassan will continue fighting for New Hampshire.”
The ad comes from Common Sense Leadership Fund, a dark money group run by Mitch McConnell’s highly paid campaign manager, who was on McConnell’s payroll as recently as this year. According to a Federal Communications Commission ad filing, CSLF’s Board of Directors is Kevin Golden, Kevin McLaughlin, and Lester Williamson:
Kevin Golden was Campaign Manager of Mitch McConnell’s 2020 re-election. McConnell’s campaign directly paid Golden a whopping $218,188.42 over the course of just eight months, and Golden was on McConnell’s payroll as recently as this February.
Kevin McLaughlin, a former registered lobbyist for pharmaceutical giant Novartis. A Congressional probe found that Novartis, which sells the most expensive drug in history, relied on “aggressive price hikes” to meet its sales goals and deployed “anticompetitive tactics” to keep pharmaceutical costs sky-high. McLaughlin is the former Executive Director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Mitch McConnell’s campaign arm. McLaughlin has been paid an eye-popping $1,314,236.46 by the McConnell-controlled NRSC.
McConnell is well known for doing the bidding of drug companies who want to hike prescription drug prices. McConnell voted against funding to combat the opioid crisis, opposed importing cheaper drugs from Canada, and passed a huge tax break for Big Pharma that raised taxes on New Hampshire’s middle class families.
McConnell’s ad falsely attacks Senator Hassan for supporting efforts to lower prescription drug costs and protect Medicare in the Senate budget. The budget would expand Medicare coverage to include dental, vision, and hearing and it would lower eligibility. Additionally, allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug costs would cut drug prices by 55% and reduce federal spending by $456 billion. 85 percent of Americans - including 78 percent of Republicans - support ending the practice of pharmaceutical corporations dictating drug prices and by allowing Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices for patients.
McConnell’s attacks on lowering prescription drug prices and expanding Medicare come after Chris Sununu said that he would go to Washington to support McConnell’s years-long effort to cut Medicare on a right-wing podcast hosted by McConnell’s consultants.