By Ed Silverman // October 19th, 2009 // 5:24 pm
Now that Pfizer agreed to pay $2.3 billion for illegally marketing several drugs, including Bextra, Zyvox, Geodon and Lyrica, over several years, one Congresswoman wants to punish stop such behavior – at least among those that do business with the federal government (background is here).
And so Betty McCollum, a Democrat from Minnesota, has introduced a bill that prohibits companies with a felony conviction from receiving any federal funding for five years after a conviction; prohibits corporate felons from making federal campaign contributions for five years, and limits the lobbying the corporation can do during that period to $1 million.
She calls her legislation the ACORN Act, or Against Corporations Organizing to Rip-off the Nation Act of 2009. Why? A significant target of recent Congressional action is the better-known ACORN, a non-profit that trains and advocates for poor and working-class Americans. Over the past 15 years, ACORN has received $53 million in federal funds. By contrast, Pfizer won $73 million in federal contracts in 2007, as The Nation notes, but has largely escaped Congressional wrath.
In her view, corporate felons rip-off taxpayers, shower contributions on congress and continue to cash in on federal contracts. So she wants to ‘defund corporate cooks.’ And she singles out Pfizer. In her bill, the section listing ‘Additional Definitions’ notes that any company “includes Pfizer, Pharmacia & Upjohn Company Inc. and any Pfizer-related affiliate.” And the bill specifically mentions any felony of the Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act as an example of a felony violation by a company. Hint, hint.
“Why are companies that break the law as a business strategy allowed to receive taxpayer funds?” McCollum tells the mag. “A government contract is a privilege, not a right. If a company commits a felony against the people of the United States, then that privilege must end.”