Warren to donate money from family behind opioid giant

Warren to donate money from family behind opioid giant
© Greg Nash

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenTop Sanders adviser: Warren isn't competing for 'same pool of voters' Eight Democratic presidential hopefuls to appear in CNN climate town hall In shift, top CEOs say shareholder value not top goal MORE (D-Mass.) will donate $4,500 to charity in order to offset past contributions to her Senate campaign from members of the powerful family at the helm of Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin widely accused of fueling the opioid crisis in the U.S.

Beverly Sackler, the wife of the late Raymond Sackler who ran Purdue Pharma with his brother, gave $1,000 to Warren’s Senate campaign in 2017, according to Federal Election Commission records.

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A Warren aide told The Wall Street Journal that the Massachusetts Democrat received campaign contributions from other Sackler family members going back to her first Senate bid in 2012.

An aide for Warren’s campaign confirmed the plan to offset those donations to The Hill, while a spokesperson for the Sackler family said they "would welcome a genuine dialogue" with Warren on the opioid crisis.

“Beverly Sackler is well into her 90s and denigrating her personal donation, made with the best intentions, can serve no proper political purpose," the spokesperson said. "We would welcome a genuine dialogue with the senator that’s fact-based, as the facts clearly demonstrate that the company started by Beverly's family has for decades been the industry leader in combatting opioid abuse while providing products essential for the treatment of serious chronic pain."

Other presidential contenders, including Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerEight Democratic presidential hopefuls to appear in CNN climate town hall Biden, Buttigieg bypassing Democratic delegate meeting: report F-bombs away: Why lawmakers are cursing now more than ever MORE (D-N.J.), have previously received campaign contributions from Beverly Sackler, campaign finance records show.

The Journal first reported the planned charitable donations the same day that Warren, a 2020 presidential contender, announced her plans to reintroduce legislation that would provide $100 billion over the next 10 years to help combat the opioid crisis.

That plan includes $4 billion in funding for states, territories and tribal governments to combat the opioid crisis, as well as $500 million to expand access to the overdose reversal drug naloxone.  

Warren and Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsCan the Democrats unseat Trump? Democrats slam alleged politicization of Trump State Department after IG report Senior Trump officials accused of harassing, retaliating against career State Dept. employees MORE (D-Md.) first introduced the legislation, dubbed the CARE Act, in 2018.

In a post on Medium on Wednesday unveiling her plans to reintroduce the CARE Act with Cummings, Warren excoriated the Sackler family, accusing its members of profiting from widespread addiction to OxyContin.

“Under my opioid plan, billionaires like the Sacklers wouldn’t get to live the high life while only one out of five folks who need opioid treatment get the help they need,” Warren wrote. “Instead, they would pay up to help make sure every person gets the care they need.”

Purdue Pharma’s role in the opioid crisis is at the center of more than 1,600 lawsuits alleging that the company misled physicians and consumers about the addictive nature of OxyContin — a charge that the Sackler family denies.

—Updated at 11:26 a.m.