Obama’s Half-Billion-Dollar Crony Drug Deal

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What do you get when you mix Democratic fat-cat donations, Big Labor favors, pharmaceutical lobbying and Beltway business as usual? Answer: another toxic half-billion-dollar Barack Obama-approved crony deal. Move over, Solyndra. Here comes Siga-Gate.

This latest Chicago-style payoff on your dime involves a dubious smallpox drug backed by a liberal billionaire investor, along with a former union boss who was one of the White House’s most frequent visitors. They’re the “1 percent” with 100 percent immunity from the selectively outraged Occupier mobs that purport to oppose partisan government bailouts and handouts to privileged corporations.

Ronald Perelman is the New York City-based leveraged buyout wheeler-dealer who controls Siga Technologies. He has donated nearly $130,000 mostly to Democrats over the past two election cycles alone, and he forked over $50,000 to pay for the president’s lavish inaugural parties. A Siga affiliate pitched in nearly half a million more in contributions — 65 percent of which went to Democrats — and the firms have spent millions on lobbying.

Perelman’s pharma company makes an experimental antiviral pill used by smallpox patients who received diagnoses too late to be treated with the existing smallpox vaccine. Smallpox experts cast doubt on the need for the drug given ample vaccine stockpiles, the remoteness of a mass attack and questions about its efficacy. But over the objections of federal contract negotiators, competitors and scientists, the Obama administration approved a lucrative $433 million no-bid deal for Siga in May. No other manufacturers were able to compete for the “sole source” procurement, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The special arrangement was made after a competitor objected to the administration’s violating small-business rules during a first call for bids. That’s right: It’s yet another rigged giveaway from a Hope-and-Change champion who vowed on the 2008 campaign trail to “end the abuse of no-bid contracts once and for all.”

Intensifying the culture-of-corruption stench: the critical role of Andy Stern. He’s the profligate, corruption-coddling former head of the powerful Service Employees International Union — the 2.2 million-member public-employee union powerhouse that he left in April 2010 with a mountain of debt and eroding rank-and-file pensions.

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  • Dee L

    Let's not forget that Siga has a very ticked off competitor with some serious political clout behind it, so one has to wonder if this would still be an issue if the competitor didn't have a beef. I also wonder if negotiations from similar procurements from other companies would also hold up to such scrutiny. Let's also not forget that the process actually began under the Bush administration when funds were given to the company to develop the drug. Also, Perleman donates to both parties. And, look at the whole Board of Directors. It may surprise you that not long after Stern was appointed, Frances Townsend, Homeland Security Advisor to President Bush, was added and she is an expert on bioterrorism.

    While smallpox was eradicated, anyone with a basic biology degree can reverse engineer the virus from existing pox (cowpox etc.) viruses. An antiviral is needed for several reasons… First, smallpox in its early stages mimics cold/flu-like symptoms, so by the time it is discovered that a person may have spread smallpox it would be to late to administer the vaccine. The vaccine only has a four day window for use after a person is exposed. Second, not every person can tolerate the vaccine. About 20 to 25% of the population cannot be vaccinated due to health issues. I have eczema and cannot be vaccinated. Third, the vaccine itself is known to have serious side effects in those that are healthy. Interesting note is Siga's product was used successfully in three cases where the vaccine caused serious illness. The CDC considers just one case of smallpox to be a national emergency and cleanup would be economically devastating. A good read on the subject is Demon in the Freezer by the same author of the Hot Zone. Yes, I am posting similar posts on various websites. I think some important facts are missing.

  • StephenD

    Notwithstanding the points made by DEE above, there remains serious concerns in the way decisions are made. Officials participating in "insider trading" is one thing. Allowing for Cronyism at the potential risk to our nations health is quite another.

    Here is one more piece the Conservative Candidate should expose on this Administration.

    Good work Ms. Malkin…as usual.

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