Booker returns campaign donation from pharmaceutical executive after slamming industry
© Getty Images

2020 White House hopeful Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSpeculation swirls around whether Bloomberg will make Las Vegas debate stage Conway: Trump is 'toying with everybody' by attacking Bloomberg for stop-and-frisk comments Democratic rivals sharpen attacks as Bloomberg rises MORE (D-N.J.) returned a $2,800 donation from a pharmaceutical company executive after claiming at the first Democratic debate that his campaign doesn't accept donations from the industry or its executives, ABC News reported.

"Since 2017, Cory Booker has rejected campaign contributions from pharmaceutical companies -- not only their corporate and industry PACs, but also from their c-suite executives and board chairs," Sabrina Singh, Booker’s campaign press secretary told ABC News.


The check was from Eagle Pharmaceutical Executive Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer Michael Cordera. The Booker campaign said Cordera listed his occupation as “attorney” for the donation. 

"[Booker’s] presidential campaign rejects these contributions too, and we carefully review our FEC filings and do everything we can to ensure we're abiding by this pledge. Based on our review of our most recent campaign finance report, we were confident we lived up to the high standard we set,” Singh continued.

But a Booker aide told ABC News that the campaign returned the money after the news organization reported on the donation. 

Booker slammed pharmaceutical companies last week during the first 2020 Democratic debate, saying they should be “held criminally liable” for their role in the opioid crisis. He also criticized the companies for raising prescription drug prices.  

“We see that because consumer prices are being raised by pharmaceutical companies that often have monopolistic holds on drugs,” Booker said. “And you see that by just the fact that this is actually an economy that's hurting small businesses and not allowing them to compete.”

However, Booker has also received donations from Sanofi Vice President of Industrial Operations Rakesh Kakkar, Pfizer regional head Sonya Kakkar and Lifestar Pharma Vice President of Sales and Marketing David Gann, according to ABC News. His campaign has not returned these donations because it does not consider them “c-suite” executives, top senior staffers or board chairs. 

The Hill has reached out to Booker's campaign for comment.