There are serious allegations of a number of donors of Democratic candidates getting financial benefits from state contracts under Biden administration. There also are allegations of several lobbyist firms establishing contacts with Hunter Biden through third-party sources and making alternative bribes in exchange for getting special favor from Joe Biden and his administration. Similarly, some of these lobbyist firms as well as individuals are making secret financial dealings with Democratic Party’s Senators and Congressmen while pro-Islamist Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and notorious Jamaat-e-Islami are making secret attempts of hiring the infamous ‘Squad’ members in the US Congress.
According to media reports, in 2021, McKinsey & Company, the global management consulting firm, agreed to pay nearly US$600 million to settle complaints brought by 49 state attorneys general for its alleged role in exacerbating the opioid crisis. McKinsey was accused of helping to “turbo-charge” opioid sales by advising drug manufacturers to focus marketing efforts on doctors already writing the most prescriptions of the addictive painkillers. Chelsea Clinton also has financial interests in the opioid scandal.
It may be mentioned here that from 1999 to 2019, more than 500,000 people died from opioid overdoses. Consumer advocates might expect at least some of that settlement money to trickle down to families who suffered and lost loved ones in the still-ongoing crisis.
But the first recipient of the windfall was a group of lawyers. The settlement deal allocated US$15 million to the nonprofit National Association of Attorneys General with the remaining cash mainly slated for state government departments and state general fund accounts.
So much for the consumer protection the lawsuits promised. And it’s hardly an isolated case. Attorneys general – politicians who have to campaign for that role – and other state government entities often hire large private trial-lawyer firms to help prosecute their cases, entering into weak contracts that provide big fees for the firms but few guarantees that consumers will see any restitution from the legal action, according to a new report by the conservative Alliance for Consumers.
The report also notes that, though Democrats tend to boast about standing up to big business and protecting consumers, it’s Democratic politicians who appear to benefit most from weak public contracts, as well as their natural political ties to trial lawyers.
The AFC study found that the top eight plaintiff-side trial firms — all of which boast numerous state and local government public contracts involving prominent litigation — generated US$15 million in combined political donations from 2017 to 2020. The donations were doled out by the firms either directly, or through their roughly 1,300 lawyers and other employees and staff, with 98 percent of those funds going to Democrats or groups supporting their reelection. Those eight firms are Morgan & Morgan, Lieff Cabraser, Motley Rice, Baron & Budd, Grant & Eisenhofer, Berger Montague, Cohen Milstein, and Simmons Hanly Conroy.
The US$15 million from these eight firms dwarfs federal donations generated by some of the biggest U.S.-based corporations, including BlackRock (the world’s largest asset manager), Nike and Twitter.
Lieff Cabraser, for instance, generated more than US$30,000 per lawyer in federal giving from 2017 through 2020, more than US$2.5 million in total with only US$30 of that political largesse going to a Republican candidate or committee, the AFC found.
“It’s a political money game where [these firms] are getting millions in state money through very problematic, under-protective contracts, then they’re turning around and being very aggressive with their political giving to Democrats”, said O.H. Skinner, the executive director of Alliance for Consumers, which works to ensure that consumer-protection efforts, class-action lawsuits and attorney general enforcement actions are consistent with the rule of law and benefit everyday consumers, not just class-action lawyers and politicians.
“Time and time again in these cases, it ends up with lawyers getting millions of dollars, part of which goes to help feed political donations to Democrats, and consumers get nothing. … Consumer protection is getting hijacked”, he said.
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