Corporate Corruption News ArticlesExcerpts of key news articles on corporate corruption
One of Washington's most prominent lobbying firms is on the verge of shuttering after becoming ensnared by special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. Kimberley Fritts, the chief executive of the Podesta Group, told employees during a Thursday staff meeting that the firm would cease to exist at the end of the year. The developments come after the Podesta Group was tied last week to Mueller's indictments of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, who pleaded not guilty after being charged with failing to file as foreign agents relating to a decade of work they did for ... a pro-Russia political party in the Ukraine. Mueller's special investigation team has also interviewed multiple people from the Podesta Group, which was recruited by Manafort and Gates to work along with another firm. Talk of potentially closing the Podesta Group marks a dramatic downfall of one of K Street's most iconic and well-connected firms. In its heyday, Podesta Group was the largest non-law firm lobbying organization in Washington. Tony Podesta, the firm's founder and chairman, helped fuel the company with work for foreign governments. He and his brother, John, founded the company almost three decades ago. John Podesta chaired Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign. He left the firm in 1993. Mueller is looking into whether the Podesta Group properly identified to federal authorities its foreign advocacy for ... a Brussels-based non-profit group that federal prosecutors have called a mouthpiece for pro-Russian Ukrainian politicians.
Note: The Podesta brothers were deeply implicated in the Pizzagate affair. Though many believe Pizzagate was just a "conspiracy theory," our careful research shows powerful evidence that the Podestas were indeed involved in a child sex abuse ring. Could it be that behind the curtains, some are taking action against the Podestas for their involvement in these child abuse rings? For some intriguing, yet difficult to verify evidence along these lines, see this webpage.
Reporter and NBC contributor Ronan Farrow pursued leads about Harvey Weinstein's misconduct for months, but NBC passed on the chance to publish his story. "Ronan was basically told to stop working on this," according to a source. So Farrow contacted David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker. Now the magazine is receiving widespread acclaim for publishing the investigation. What happened at NBC is a media world mystery. Did the network's executives not have the stomach for the inevitable legal threats? Were they trying to protect relationships in Hollywood? Or were there other reasons? The official explanation, from the news division's president Noah Oppenheim, is that "we didn't feel that we had all the elements that we needed to air it," so Farrow "took it to The New Yorker." But some staffers aren't buying that. And they're wondering why Farrow's taped interviews with accusers aren't being broadcast now. The question of how NBC could have let this scoop get away is big enough that it even came up on sister network MSNBC Tuesday night. Host Rachel Maddow asked Farrow, "Why did you end up reporting this story for The New Yorker and not for NBC News?" "Look," Farrow responded, "you would have to ask NBC and NBC executives about the details of that story." Earlier in the interview, he had mentioned that he taped one of his on-camera interviews way back in January.
There have been few movie executives as dominant, or as domineering, as Harvey Weinstein. His movies have earned more than three hundred Oscar nominations. For more than twenty years, Weinstein, who is now sixty-five, has also been trailed by rumors of sexual harassment and assault. His behavior has been an open secret to many in Hollywood and beyond, but ... too few people were willing to speak, much less allow a reporter to use their names, and Weinstein and his associates used nondisclosure agreements, payoffs, and legal threats to suppress their accounts. On October 5th, the New York Times ... revealed multiple allegations of sexual harassment against Weinstein, an article that led to the resignation of four members of the Weinstein Company’s all-male board, and to Weinstein’s firing. There is more to know and to understand. In the course of a ten-month investigation, I was told by thirteen women that, between the nineteen-nineties and 2015, Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them. Their allegations corroborate and overlap with the Times’s revelations, and also include far more serious claims. Three of the women ... told me that Weinstein had raped them. Sixteen former and current executives and assistants at Weinstein’s companies ... said that the behavior was widely known within both Miramax and the Weinstein Company. Virtually all of the people I spoke with told me that they were frightened of retaliation.
Note: The recording of Weinstein attempting to seduce a model and admitting to groping her breasts mentioned in this article and available here is quite revealing. And why was an NBC reporter who had the inside scoop "told to stop working on this"? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on mass media corruption and sexual abuse scandals.
Baby Boomers are sucking the blood of the young. They are ... after the plasma. In Monterey, California, a new startup has emerged, offering transfusions of human plasma: 1.5 litres a time, pumped in across two days, harvested uniquely from young adults. Ambrosia, the vampiric startup concerned, is run by a 32-year-old doctor called Jesse Karmazin, who bills $8,000 (Ł6,200) a pop for participation in what he has dubbed a “study”. So far, he has 600 clients, with a median age of 60. The blood is collected from local blood banks, then separated and combined – it takes multiple donors to make one package. The idea has become faddish in tech circles. Mike Judge’s Silicon Valley sitcom recently parodied the notion, with arch-tech guru Gavin Belson relying on a “blood boy” following him around to donate pints of sticky red at inopportune moments. That fictionalised account may well be based on the real-life adventures of Peter Thiel, the PayPal founder. A 2014 Harvard report ... seems to have kickstarted the present revival of interest in transfusions. There, scientists injecting old mice with the plasma of a younger generation found it improved their memory and their ability to learn. Conversely, injecting old blood into young seemed to knobble the young rodents. The scientific community has rolled its eyes at the “trial” element of Ambrosia. There is no control group and, with participation costing so much, no one involved is very randomised.
Note: Read more about Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel's investment in this questionable technology. One university researcher has found that many in the European royalty until the end of the 18th century practiced selective cannibalism in the belief if would keep them young. Another article goes into greater depth about the practice some elder members of the wealthy elite taking blood infusions from young people to stay young.
Wells Fargo acknowledged Friday that for six years about 570,000 of its customers were charged for auto insurance they didn’t need, potentially driving some to default on their loan and have their cars repossessed. The San Francisco bank said it would start refunding about $80 million, or about $140 each, to customers next month. The revelation quickly sparked a backlash from lawmakers still angry after Wells Fargo admitted last year that thousands of its employees had created millions of fake credit card and bank accounts for customers without their knowledge. “No wonder so many hard-working Americans believe the system is rigged against them in Wall Street’s favor,” Sen. Sherrod Brown, the ranking Democrat on the Banking Committee, said in a statement. Sen. Elizabeth Warren ... renewed her call for the Federal Reserve to force Wells Fargo’s board of directors to resign. “There are surely deep ... problems at a bank when it opens millions of fake customer accounts and charges nearly a million customers for a financial product they don’t need,” Warren said in a statement. “The Wells Fargo Board is ultimately responsible for that failure.” Wells Fargo said the most recent scandal is centered on its auto lending business. Customers’ loan contracts require them to maintain auto insurance and allow the bank to buy it for them if there is no evidence that the customers have a policy, the bank said. But ... customers were being charged for auto insurance premiums even though they already had another policy.
Note: Read more about the massive fraud perpetrated by Wells Fargo. Steve Glazer, chairman of the California Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee, recently compared this bank's actions with the behavior of Enron when its culture of corruption initially came to light. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing banking corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Increasing inequality means wealthy Americans can now expect to live up to 15 years longer than their poor counterparts, reports in the British medical journal the Lancet have found. Researchers said these disparities appear to be worsened by the American health system itself, which relies on for-profit insurance companies, and is the most expensive in the world. Their conclusion? Treat healthcare as a human right. The Lancet studies looked at how the American health system affects inequality and structural racism, and how mass incarceration and the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, have changed public health. Among the studies’ key findings: the richest 1% live up to 15 years longer than the poorest 1%; the same gap in life expectancy widened in recent decades, making poverty a powerful indicator for death; more than one-third of low-income Americans avoid medical care because of costs; the poorest fifth of Americans pay twice as much for healthcare as a share of income; and life expectancy would have grown 51.1% more from 1983 to 2005 had mass incarceration not accelerated in the mid-1980s. The poorest Americans have suffered in particular, with life expectancies falling in some groups even while medicine has advanced. All of these health outcomes arrive in the context of widening general inequality. The share of total income going to the top 1% of earners has more than doubled since 1970.
Many patients come to Mayo Clinic for a second opinion or diagnosis confirmation before treatment for a complex condition. In a new study, Mayo Clinic reports that as many as 88 percent of those patients go home with a new or refined diagnosis – changing their care plan and potentially their lives. Conversely, only 12 percent receive confirmation that the original diagnosis was complete and correct. When people are sick, they look to their doctor to find solutions. However, physicians don’t always have the answers. Often ... the physician will recommend a second opinion. Other times, the patient will ask for one. This second opinion could lead to quicker access to lifesaving treatment or stopping unnecessary treatments. The [study's research] team compared the referring diagnosis to the final diagnosis to determine the level of consistency between the two. In 21 percent of the cases, the diagnosis was completely changed; and 66 percent of patients received a refined or redefined diagnosis. “Effective ... treatment depends on the right diagnosis,” says Dr. Naessens. “Knowing that more than 1 out of every 5 referral patients may be completely [and] incorrectly diagnosed is troubling ─ not only because of the safety risks for these patients ... but also because of the patients we assume are not being referred at all.” Insurers often limit access to care outside their network, effectively limiting referrals. Further, primary care providers may be more confident in their diagnostic expertise than warranted.
Note: Medical error kills an estimated 251,454 people in the US every year, making it the third leading cause of death in the US. And prescription drugs were reported to have caused 123,000 deaths and 800,000 adverse patient outcomes such as disability in the US in 2014 alone. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.
The unthinkable is happening at facilities throughout the country: Vulnerable seniors are being raped and sexually abused by the very people paid to care for them. It's impossible to know just how many victims are out there. But through an exclusive analysis of state and federal data and interviews with experts, regulators and the families of victims, CNN has found that this little-discussed issue is more widespread than anyone would imagine. In cases reviewed by CNN, victims and their families were failed at every stage. Nursing homes were slow to investigate and report allegations because of a reluctance to believe the accusations - or a desire to hide them. Police viewed the claims as unlikely at the outset, dismissing potential victims because of failing memories or jumbled allegations. State regulators failed to flag patterns of repeated allegations against a single caregiver. It's these systemic failures that make it especially hard for victims to get justice - and even easier for perpetrators to get away with their crimes. Using inspection reports filed between 2013 and 2016 [a CNN analysis] found that the federal government has cited more than 1,000 nursing homes for mishandling or failing to prevent alleged cases of rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse at their facilities during this period. And nearly 100 of these facilities have been cited multiple times during the same period. These numbers likely represent only a fraction of the alleged sexual abuse incidents in nursing homes nationwide.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
Important Note: WantToKnow.info manager Fred Burks watched the CBS news video at the link above one day after it was posted. Two days later, Fred clicked on the same link only to find the video there had been replaced with one titled "Why Reports on Trump Are Fake News." The original video was gone. This is unprecedented and suggests someone did not want you to see this video. Fred managed to download the video before it disappeared. You can watch it now on this webpage.
What exactly is Pizzagate? [It began with] the WikiLeaks release of hacked emails from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. [Some emails suggest] Podesta may be part of a child sex trafficking ring. Podesta talks about his close relationship with Dennis Hastert, the former Speaker of the House who was recently sentenced to 15 months in prison for abusing boys. To be clear, not one single email … discusses child sex trafficking. But there are dozens of ... strangely worded emails dealing with pizza. Those words [may be] code language used by pedophiles. Comet Ping Pong Pizza [is referenced] at least a dozen or so times. The owner of that place, James Alefantis, is a friend of John Podesta. He was actually named ... by GQ magazine as one of the top 50 most powerful people in Washington. Comet Ping Pong ... is a place where a number of performance artists perform [including] a group called Heavy Breathing and another called Sex Stains. Heavy Breathing has songs that do joke about pedophilia. [Alefantis] has made his Instagram profile private, but an archive search of Instagram reveals a number of strange photographs and words with ... disturbing images. According to the Washington Post, visitors to [John's brother] Tony Podesta's home in Falls Church "got an eye full when they walked into a bedroom ... hung with multiple color pictures by Katy Grannan, a photographer known for documentary style pictures of naked teenagers in their parents’ suburban homes." That just begins to scratch the surface of how strange some of the stuff is.
Note: Explore the retrieved Instagram account of James Alefantis and you will understand why this is so important. Read what may be the most level-headed exploration of Pizzagate. For undeniable evidence of powerful child prostitution rings leading to the highest levels of government, watch the suppressed Discovery Channel documentary "Conspiracy of Silence." An excellent segment by Australia's "60-Minutes" team "Spies, Lords and Predators" also covers a pedophile ring in the UK which leads to the highest levels of government. See also news articles on sex abuse scandals.
FBI agents arrested former Insys Therapeutics CEO Michael Babich and five other former company executives on Thursday for allegedly bribing doctors to prescribe an extremely addictive opioid painkiller to patients who didn’t need it. The Department of Justice (DOJ) alleges that the executives took part in a “nationwide conspiracy” to give healthcare providers kickbacks in exchange for the improper prescribing of Subsys - an opioid medication containing the highly addictive substance fentanyl, which is considered even more dangerous than painkillers like Vicodin. Subsys is meant to provide pain relief to cancer patients who are going through particularly excruciating pain episodes. It’s reserved for these neediest of patients due to its potency and addictive qualities. But federal prosecutors allege that Babich and his co-conspirators doled out kickbacks to doctors who prescribed the drug even to non-cancer patients, and even set up a special “reimbursement unit” to sway insurance companies and pharmacy benefits managers to provide coverage for these non-authorized uses. The charges range from racketeering to conspiracy to mail and wire fraud. The FBI’s actions come in the wake of a newly invigorated federal effort to tackle the prescription painkiller epidemic, which has claimed the lives of more than 165,000 Americans since 1999.
Note: These charges come on the heels of an ex-DEA official's public accusation that Congress has been helping drug makers avoid responsibility for their role in the US opioid epidemic. How many deaths and ruined lives are being caused by greedy executives and the politicians in their pockets? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Sugar pills worked as well at preventing kids' migraines as two commonly used headache medicines, but had fewer side effects, in a study that may lead doctors to rethink how they treat a common ailment in children and teens. It's the first rigorous head-to-head test in kids of two generic prescription drugs also used for adults' migraines: topiramate, an anti-seizure medicine, and amitriptyline, an anti-depressant. The idea was to see if either drug could reduce by half the number of days kids had migraines over a month's time. Both drugs worked that well - but so did placebo sugar pills. The results "really challenge what is typical practice today by headache specialists," said study author Scott Powers, a psychologist at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. "The fact that it shows that two of the most commonly used medications are no more effective than a placebo and have adverse effects makes a very clear statement," said Dr. Leon Epstein, neurology chief at Ann & Robert Lurie H. Children's Hospital of Chicago. The only government-approved migraine medication for kids is topiramate. Side effects from the drugs [included] fatigue, dry mouth and forgetfulness. Kids on topiramate also had tingling sensations in their hands, arms, legs or feet. There was one suicide attempt in the topiramate group, another known side-effect of that drug. The side effects were not unexpected, but given the risks, the results suggest the drugs shouldn't be "first-line prevention treatments" for kids' migraines, Powers said.
Note: This study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. For more, see this mercola.com article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.
AT&T runs a secret program called Project Hemisphere that that searches millions and millions of call records and analyzes cellular data to help law enforcement spy on Americans, according to documents obtained by The Daily Beast. Police use the data to solve crimes by monitoring if specific cellular towers in the vicinity of wrongdoings picked up a known suspect’s cell phone. The surveillance project comes to light as the company is on the verge of acquiring Time Warner in one of the biggest media mergers in memory. Law enforcement agencies pay from $100,000 to over $1 million a year for Hemisphere access. Back in 2013, The New York Times called Hemisphere a partnership between AT&T and the government, but Daily Beast says it’s actually “a product AT&T developed, marketed, and sold at a cost of millions of dollars per year to taxpayers.” No warrant is required to access Hemisphere, but it does require a promise not to publicly disclose Hemisphere. AT&T owns significant shares in both the landline and cell phone space, which allows the company to possess information that is used by at least 28 intelligence centers. Documents show that AT&T wants to keep Hemisphere a secret, but suspects and anyone charged with a crime have the right to know the evidence against them. “The Government agency agrees not to use the data as evidence in any judicial or administrative proceedings unless there is no other available and admissible probative evidence,” documents obtained by the Beast said.
Using the playbook of Mylan, Turing and, well, their own company, Valeant Pharmaceuticals has hiked the price of yet another life-saving treatment to astronomical values. This time, it’s calcium EDTA, a lead poisoning treatment that cost US hospitals and poison control centers about $500 for a packet of six ampules (6 grams) before 2012, when Valeant acquired the drug. Poison control experts now say that US centers pay about $5000 per gram for the drug, compared to $15 per gram for Canadians. In a 6-year period ... Valeant increased the US price of the drug by as much as 7200%. Two physicians - Michael Kosnett from the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Timur Durrani at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) - expressed their concerns about these price hikes in a letter to U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md), the ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. According to Kosnett and Durrani, the average price per milliliter for the drug went from $18.57 in 2008 to $1346.37 in 2014. U.S. hospitals have no other source for calcium EDTA. Most of those who develop acute lead poisoning are children. The effects of lead poisoning are lasting and profound. Calcium EDTA is on the World Health Organization’s Model List of Essential Medicines, which lists medications that are most critical for a healthcare system to have on hand.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Following widespread outrage and a blistering Senate Banking Committee hearing last week, Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf has said he’ll forfeit his outstanding stock awards of about $41 million. Wells Fargo’s former retail-banking head, Carrie Tolstedt, has agreed to forfeit outstanding stock awards of about $19 million. The givebacks are being done in response to charges that the bank opened some 2 million fraudulent deposit and credit card accounts in its customers’ names. Wells Fargo had already agreed to pay $185 million to settle those charges with regulators, but, clearly, that wasn’t enough. The public is worn out by Wall Street’s bad behavior - and it’s also tired of watching low-level employees be scapegoated while top executives get off scot-free. Wells had fired more than 5,000 employees connected to the illegal sales practices, but done nothing to punish senior executives. No one is buying the story that a scandal this large was the work of rogue employees at the bottom of the totem pole. Part of the reason for the alleged unauthorized accounts was employees were pressured to meet unachievable sales goals. Wells has also pledged to end the controversial sales goal program for employees in the retail banking division. The financial meltdown of 2008 ... resulted out of extreme complexity - most politicians and citizens can’t parse a credit default swap. Opening a bank account in someone else’s name without their permission, however, is a wrong that everyone can understand.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing banking corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
The pervasive influence of corporate cash in the democratic process, and the extraordinary lengths to which politicians, lobbyists and even judges go to solicit money, are laid bare in sealed court documents leaked to the Guardian. The John Doe files amount to 1,500 pages of largely unseen material gathered in evidence by prosecutors investigating alleged irregularities in political fundraising. Last year the Wisconsin supreme court ordered that all the documents should be destroyed, though a set survived that has now been obtained by the news organisation. The files open a window on a world that is very rarely glimpsed by the public, in which millions of dollars are secretly donated by major corporations and super-wealthy individuals to third-party groups in an attempt to sway elections. Five Wisconsin prosecutors carried out a deep investigation into what they suspected were criminal campaign-finance violations by the campaign committee of Scott Walker, Wisconsin governor. In 2015, Justice Prosser refused to recuse himself from a case in which the state supreme court sat in judgment over the John Doe investigation, despite the fact that the investigation focused on precisely the same network of lobbying groups and donors that had helped him hang onto his seat. The judge joined a majority of four conservative justices who voted to terminate the investigation and destroy all the documents now leaked to the Guardian.
Like a lot of other Americans, Sen. Elizabeth Warren wants to know why the Department of Justice hasn’t criminally prosecuted any of the major players responsible for the 2008 financial crisis. On Thursday, Warren released two highly provocative letters demanding some explanations. One is to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, requesting a review of how federal law enforcement managed to whiff on all 11 substantive criminal referrals submitted by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC), a panel set up to examine the causes of the 2008 meltdown. The other is to FBI Director James Comey, asking him to release all FBI investigations and deliberations related to those referrals. The FCIC’s criminal referrals ... have never been made public. But Warren’s staff reviewed thousands of other documents released in March ... and found descriptions and records of them. They detail potential violations of securities laws by 14 different financial institutions: most of America’s largest banks. And the FCIC named names, specifying nine top-level executives who should be investigated on criminal charges: CEO Daniel Mudd and CFO Stephen Swad of Fannie Mae; CEO Martin Sullivan and CFO Stephen Bensinger of AIG; CEO Stan O’Neal and CFO Jeffrey Edwards of Merrill Lynch; and CEO Chuck Prince, CFO Gary Crittenden, and Board Chairman Robert Rubin of Citigroup. None of the 14 financial firms listed in the referrals were criminally indicted or brought to trial, Warren writes. Only five of the 14 even paid fines.
When Wells Fargo was hit last week with $185 million in fines after thousands of its employees were caught setting up fake accounts customers didn't ask for, regulators heralded the settlement as a breakthrough. But the fines being levied against Wells Fargo pale in comparison to the bank's yearly profit - more than $20 billion in 2015. It is also less than the more than $200 million that the stock in the company held by company's chief executive, John G. Stumpf is worth. The fines also are not that much more than the $125 million one of its top executives, Carrie Tolstedt, will walk away with when she retires this year. "There are two possibilities: Customer abuse was part of business model, in which case lots of high ranking people need to go to prison," said Bart Naylor, a financial policy advocate. "Or the bank is too big to manage, and folks high up don’t even know that laws are being broken a few levels down." The magnitude of the fraud described by regulators should be thoroughly investigated, five Democratic lawmakers said in a letter to the head of the Senate Banking Committee, Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), asking for a hearing on the case. The lawmakers, including Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, said Wells Fargo's CEO, John G. Stumpf, should be called to testify. "It is difficult to believe a large-scale, coordinated [scheme] like this took place without knowledge of some higher ups," Menendez said in an interview.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing banking corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
UBS, the world's largest wealth manager, is facing embarrassment over fresh revelations going back to the tax investigation that led to the collapse of Swiss banking secrecy. Two significant events are looming before UBS. The first is the possibility of a public trial in France, featuring UBS whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld, concerning historic tax evasion allegedly orchestrated by the bank. The other is the publication ... of Birkenfeld's scathing new book, Lucifer's Banker, which covers his time at UBS. The tax evasion controversy, which was first highlighted in 2005, subsequently involved the US Department of Justice, the State Department and Internal Revenue Service. It was prompted by disclosures made by Birkenfeld that UBS had helped wealthy US citizens evade taxes. In 2009, UBS paid $780m (Ł588m, €693m) to US authorities to avoid prosecution. Birkenfeld served 31 months in prison for one count of conspiracy to abet tax evasion by one of his clients. After he was released he was paid a record $104m by the IRS for helping recover unpaid taxes. However, Birkenfeld has since said that he was systematically prevented from giving testimony in open court – but this may be about to change thanks to the French authorities. Birkenfeld claims the UBS coverup stretches to the highest levels of the US establishment. He promises four big names will be exposed in his book, [and] claims there was a glaring conflict of interest involving then Senator Barack Obama, which essentially placed him on the UBS payroll.
Note: Read a New York Times article on how this courageous whistleblower managed to beat the system. As a result of Birkenfeld's disclosures, Obama's suspicious ties with UBS were reported in 2010. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the financial industry.
EpiPen prices aren't the only thing to jump at Mylan. Executive salaries have also seen a stratospheric uptick. Proxy filings show that from 2007 to 2015, Mylan CEO Heather Bresch's total compensation went from $2,453,456 to $18,931,068, a 671 percent increase. During the same period, the company raised EpiPen prices, with the average wholesale price going from $56.64 to $317.82, a 461 percent increase. In 2007 the company bought the rights to EpiPen, a device used to provide emergency epinephrine to stop a potentially fatal allergic reaction and began raising its price. In 2008 and 2009, Mylan raised the price by 5 percent. At the end of 2009 it tried out a 19 percent hike. The years 2010-2013 saw a succession of 10 percent price hikes. And from the fourth quarter of 2013 to the second quarter of 2016, Mylan steadily raised EpiPen prices 15 percent every other quarter. After Mylan acquired EpiPen the company also amped up its lobbying efforts. In 2008, its reported spending on lobbying went from $270,000 to $1.2 million, according to opensecrets.org. Legislation that enhanced its bottom line followed, with the FDA changing its recommendations in 2010 that two EpiPens be sold in a package instead of one. And in 2013 the government passed a law to give block grants to states that required they be stocked in public schools.
Think tanks, which position themselves as “universities without students,” have power in government policy debates because they are seen as researchers independent of moneyed interests. But in the chase for funds, think tanks are pushing agendas important to corporate donors, at times blurring the line between researchers and lobbyists. And they are doing so while reaping the benefits of their tax-exempt status, sometimes without disclosing their connections to corporate interests. On issues as varied as military sales to foreign countries, international trade, highway management systems and real estate development, think tanks have frequently become vehicles for corporate influence and branding campaigns. “This is about giant corporations who figured out that by spending, hey, a few tens of millions of dollars, if they can influence outcomes here in Washington, they can make billions of dollars,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, a frequent critic of undisclosed Wall Street donations to think tanks. Washington has seen a proliferation of think tanks, particularly small institutions with narrow interests tied to specific industries. At the same time, the brand names of the field have experienced explosive growth. [The Brookings Institution]’s annual budget has doubled in the last decade, to $100 million. The American Enterprise Institute is spending at least $80 million on a new headquarters in Washington, not far from where the Center for Strategic and International Studies built a $100 million office tower.
Note: Read more about how big money buys off institutions democracy depends on. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the corporate world.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.