Republican congressional candidate Brent Sonnek-Schmelz today demanded that Congressman Frank Pallone (Radical Progressive Liberal Democrat-Middlesex and Monmouth Counties) return the $10,000 he has collected from Mylan Pharmaceuticals’ political action committee and that Pallone explain his cozy financial relationships with the companies he is charged with overseeing as the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Mylan and CEO Heather Bresch have come under scrutiny this week after it was reported that the company has increased the wholesale price of EpiPen 400% while Bresch’s salary has increased 671% from $2,453,456 in 2007, the year of the Mylan aquired EpiPen to $18,931,068 in 2015.
EpiPen is a life saving emergency treatment for anaphylactic shock. Sales of the drug provide 40% of Mylan’s operating profit, according to published reports.
Bresch is the daughter Pallone’s colleague, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
Pallone started accepting donations from Mylan in 2005 and received $2500 for his current reelection campaign.
“Frank Pallone should immediately return every penny of the $10,000 he has received from Mylan, apologize to the families being gouged by this company, and then publicly explain to his constituents – especially those whose lives literally depend on the affordability of the EpiPen – why he continued to solicit and accept campaign contributions from Mylan’s PAC despite their unsavory business practices,” said Sonnek-Schmelz, whose called the issue “deeply personal” given that his niece depends on access to EpiPens as a result of severe allergies.
Sonnek-Schmelz called Pallone a “special interest money addict” and said the Mylan issue is the just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to controversy and conflicts of interests surrounding Pallone’s fundraising and personal finances.
“Either Mr. Pallone is completely clueless about who he solicits and accepts campaign contributions from, or he doesn’t have a problem with cashing checks from a morally bankrupt company that gouges local families in serious medical needs and prioritizes profits over people,” said Sonnek-Schmelz. “Either way, it’s offensive, and emblematic of everything that is wrong with Washington.”
Pallone has been in Congress from 28 years. Sonnek-Schmelz, an entrepreneur and a Board of Education member in Atlantic Highlands, has pledged to support term limits for members of congress if he is elected. The new comer was recognized this week by U.S. Term Limits for his pledge.
“Frank Pallone has been in Congress for 28 years. During that time, he’s become a millionaire many times over, while the Congress has only grown more dysfunctional and gridlocked,” said Sonnek-Schmelz. “The current system is rigged to re-elect incumbents in both parties. Term limits will help to level the playing field and that’s why I support them.”