A.B. in the News

Bloomberg: Perry’s Merck Donations Raise Questions About Vaccine Mandate

“Texas Governor Rick Perry ‘s decision to require pre-teen girls to be vaccinated against a virus that causes cervical cancer has ignited debate over whether the presidential hopeful used his office to do favors for political allies.

Perry, who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination, received at least $23,500 in campaign contributions from drug-maker Merck & Co., including $5,000 in 2006, the year before he ordered girls throughout the state to take a new Merck vaccine. The drug-maker also has donated about $500,000 to the Republican Governors Association, a group which Perry headed twice and has been among his most generous campaign donors.

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In addition, Mike Toomey, a former Texas state House member who served as Perry’s chief of staff, became a lobbyist for the firm after leaving the governor’s office.

Toomey also is a founder of the pro-Perry Super PAC, Make Us Great Again, which is raising money to help get the Texas governor elected to the White House. Toomey didn’t respond to a telephone message seeking comment.

“This is just another shameful example showing Rick Perry putting his special interest friends ahead of the people of Texas,´ said Ty Matsdorf, a spokesman for American Bridge 21st Century, a pro-Democrat opposition research group. “He has built a pay-to-play network during his tenure that represents everything the American people believe is wrong with politics.””

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