Regardless of the debate over administering the vaccine, there is no doubt that Perry grossly misrepresented the influence of Merck in his administration. For one thing, Perry has actually accepted $29,500 from the company’s PAC, and the Republican Governor Association, under Perry’s watch, took in $350,000 from Merck since 2006. Moreover, Mike Toomey, an Austin lobbyist that represented Merck during the Gardasil decision, has promised to raise $55 million to back Perry’s presidential bid using an independent so-called SuperPAC.
The Merck connections don’t end there. A review of fundraising documents by ThinkProgress reveals that Perry’s big “Washington Kickoff” fundraiser, scheduled for later this month and already billed as his first significant event with K Street lobbyists and Beltway power brokers, is hosted by a longtime Merck lobbyist. Event host Jeff MacKinnon’s firm served as a registered lobbying agent for Merck from 2005 to 2010, and has pulled in approximately $860,000 from Merck in exchange for lobbying Congress on “drug safety” issues. MacKinnon’s firm stopped lobbying for Merck starting this year.
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