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Jackley Settles Lawsuit with Campaign Donor Pfizer

Larry Kurtz notices another small sign of big-money corruption in South Dakota politics. On Wednesday, Attorney General Marty Jackley and 41 other state attorneys general announced that they had shaken $35 million out of Pfizer Inc. to settle a lawsuit over subsidiary Wyeth Pharmaceuticals' illegal (allegedly, as settlement means no one admits guilt) marketing of kidney-transplant drug Rapamune. Pfizer shelled out $490.9 million to brush away a federal lawsuit over Rapamune marketing last year.

Pfizer made $350 million on Rapamune in 2013. The states' settlement is essentially a 10% tax on one product made by a company enjoying a net profit margin of 23%.

Wait, where's the corruption part? AG Jackley and his counterparts squeezed some money out of the corporate lawbreakers. That's good right?

I supposed Jackley et al. could have squeezed for more. But Pfizer is a campaign donor. According to, Pfizer gave Marty Jackley $2,000 to help him become attorney general.Marty Jackley got $2,000.

Hang on: if I were a prosecuting attorney, and if I had received a contribution from the defendant, wouldn't my client (here, the people of South Dakota) want to at least know that, if not consider seeking an attorney with no such conflict of interest?

But it's hard to find folks not somewhat in Pfizer's pocket. Pfizer has contributed to 25 of the 42 attorneys general of the states involved in the lawsuit settled last week. Top AG recipients include Greg Abbott of Texas ($27,500), Jon Bruning of Nebraska ($22,500), and Gary King of New Mexico ($20,000... come on, Marty! Tell Pfizer to step up the love!).

Here in South Dakota, from 2003 to 2012, Pfizer made donations worth $40,445 to South Dakota candidates. The Republican attorney general whom Jackley replaced, Larry Long, got $1,250 to keep his job in 2006. Mike Rounds got $3,000 while he was governor. Dennis Daugaard got $4,500 to help him become governor.

Pfizer sprinkles some money to Democrats, too—Susy Blake, Bernie Hunhoff, Spence Hawley, Jason Frerichs... Pfizer spends a lot of money to make sure a lot of people even in South Dakota remember their name and don't come down too hard on them with prosecutions and regulations.

Nationwide, from 2003 through 2012, Pfizer spent a bit over $6 million on Republicans and a bit under $4 million on Democrats. But they spent nearly $11 million on ballot measures, making them the leader in pharmaceutical companies in promoting the political addiction to big corporate money.


  1. mike from iowa 2014.08.10

    Here is iowa's share of the largesse and where the settlement monies are going.

    Under the settlement, Pfizer Inc., as corporate parent of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals Inc., will pay the state $537,391 and change the way the company promotes the drug. Rapamune has serious side effects when used to prevent organ rejection in transplants of organs other than kidneys.

    Miller said that the settlement is the latest in a series of cases involving drug-makers promoting drugs for "off-label" uses. The payment to Iowa will go into the state consumer litigation and education fund.

    Read more:

  2. MJL 2014.08.10

    And Pfizer is one of those companies to go after inversion to avoid paying taxes. These settlements will also be used to avoid paying taxes.

  3. larry kurtz 2014.08.10

    Mr. Larson, you cut them to the quick: please disembowel them now and call it euthanasia.

  4. Roger Cornelius 2014.08.10

    Damn! I didn't know Jackley could be bought that easily!
    That's what we used to call a chump.

  5. hmr59 2014.08.10

    I love my state, but it's crap like this that make me want to leave...

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