ICYMI: Scalise Defended Embattled Vaccine Maker Who Donated $150K to the GOP Whip

According to a report from the New York Times, Congressman Steve Scalise’s campaigns and groups affiliated with Scalise have received at least $150,000 from Fuad El-Hibri, the embattled founder and chairman of Emergent BioSolutions. 

Emergent BioSolutions is a multinational, Maryland-based biopharmaceutical company under intense scrutiny after their Baltimore plant halted production on coronavirus vaccines due to contamination. The contamination event resulted in more than 15 million doses spoiled, and another 100 million doses held up over concerns. 

Emergent executives testified for more than three hours last Wednesday before the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis. The ranking member of the Subcommittee is Congressman Steve Scalise.

Scalise used his opening statement to espouse political propaganda. During this critical hearing regarding our nation’s response to a global health crisis, Scalise praised President Trump and Emergent BioSolutions, prattled on incessantly about unfounded conspiracy theories, and fear-mongered about intellectual property rights, but never challenged his donors. In short, he failed to address the issue at hand or ask any probing questions of his benefactors, despite their troubling testimony. 

According to the New York Times, Emergent CEO Robert Kramer “calmly acknowledged unsanitary conditions, including mold and peeling paint, at the Baltimore plant.” Kramer also admitted “that Johnson & Johnson — not Emergent — had discovered contaminated doses…”

Kramer plainly stated that Emergent’s controls failed during a global health crisis, and Scalise never asked one penetrating question nor made a single critical statement. Fuad El-Hibri claimed the Trump administration knew the risks, stating, “Everyone went into this with their eyes wide open, that this is a facility that had never manufactured a licensed product before.” 

“Congressman Steve Scalise does not have the best interest of the American people or even Louisianans in mind. Scalise cares only about his corporate donors and his political power,” said Louisiana Democratic Party Communications Director Ben Riggs. 

Emergent received a $628 million contract last year.