Obama’s Half-Billion-Dollar Crony Drug Deal

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After pouring some $60 million of workers’ dues into Democratic coffers, Stern was rewarded by Obama with a cozy spot on the White House deficit panel and dozens of visits to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue — including at least seven with the president, one with Vice President Joe Biden, and meetings with Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Biden Chief of Staff Ron Klain, OMB Director Peter Orszag, health czar aide Jennifer Cannistra and Valerie Jarrett’s former high-powered aide and Chicago fundraiser Tina Tchen.

In a classic access-buying maneuver, Siga placed Stern on its board of directors in June 2010.

Four months later, Siga nabbed an estimated $3 billion contract. By January of this year, Siga’s stock had skyrocketed. The House GOP has been investigating the deal for months, which comes amid separate allegations of insider trading and political profiteering by investigative journalist Peter Schweizer.

Stern and Perelman have been scratching each other’s backs for years. In the fall of 2006, the SEIU backed off organizing protests against AlliedBarton, a security guard firm in Philadelphia owned by a Perelman interest — and then remained quiet when the firm was bought out by a longtime SEIU nemesis, the Blackstone Group.

According to the L.A. Times, which exposed the scandal over the weekend, Obama’s top biodefense bureaucrat Nicole Lurie railroaded a key dissenter at the Department of Health and Human Services who ridiculed Siga’s inflated projected profit margins. Lurie soothingly reassured a whiny Siga executive that the “most senior procurement official” would take over and mollified him in a letter: “I trust this will be satisfactory to you.”

Lurie falsely told the newspaper that she had never made contact with the official regarding the contract and deemed any such contact improper. When caught with documentation, her department spun the communication with Siga as a “national security” matter. Lurie, it should be noted, is a former Clintonite and Howard Dean health care consultant who was most recently in the headlines for pushing anthrax vaccine testing for children. According to the Labor Union Report, there have been market murmurs of a merger between Siga and the anthrax vaccine manufacturer, PharmAthene. Hard to trust Lurie’s public health moral authority with the taint of pay-for-play wafting over the Siga deal.

As always, venture socialism backed by Big Labor muscle and White House wealth redistribution is hazardous to taxpayers’ health.

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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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