Oct 30, 2008
Cassidy Breaks Ethics Rules to Shill for Big Drug Companies, Misleads Voters About Special Interest
Republican Candidate Bill Cassidy (LA-06) claims that he received the necessary approval for the dozens of trips he took that were paid for by pharmaceutical companies while working as a public doctor, even stating that "LSU approved everything." Cassidy also claimed this week that he stopped shilling for Big Drug companies in 2006.
Yet, records obtained from LSU show that Cassidy failed to request permission for dozens of trips taken on the Big Drug Companies' dime, and only reported acting as a consultant for one pharmaceutical company, Merck. Cassidy also attended a conference funded by several big drug companies in April, 2008. Cassidy did admit on WRKF this week that he was paid by a drug companies to travel to France, and said "it is nice."
"Bill Cassidy continues to mislead the voters about his backing by special interests and his long history of shilling for Big Drug companies," said Kyra Jennings, Southern Regional Press Secretary at the DCCC. "Now Cassidy is even lying about getting approval from LSU for his Drug Company junkets, and hiding a trip he took just this year. Bill Cassidy is bought and paid for by the special interests and the voters of Louisiana deserve better."
- In April 2008, Cassidy gave a talk billed at the Louisiana Academy of Physicians Association Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. The conference was funded by Merck, Eli Lilly, and Sanofi-Aventis Pharmaceuticals. According to a Freedom of Information Request, Cassidy did not file required travel approval or outside employment forms required by the state ethics board. [LAPA Website, accessed 8/5/08 <https://pelosi.dccc.org/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=https://pelosi.dccc.org/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.ourlapa.org/2008LAPAConferencefinal_files/2008%252520Conference%252520Schedule.doc> ]
- During an interview yesterday on WRKF's Jim Engster Show, Cassidy admitted that he went to a Drug Company paid trip in France, although he refused to admit it was in the French Riviera:
Jim Engster: Did you go to the French Riviera?
Bill Cassidy: Ah, you know I did give a talk at a scientific meeting in France.
Jim Engster: That's nice.
Bill Cassidy: It is nice. [The Jim Engster Show <https://pelosi.dccc.org/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wrkf/local-wrkf-782137.mp3> , 10/28/08, 25:34]
- Cassidy has said he "stopped serving on speakers bureaus and speaking on behalf of pharmaceutical companies in 2006. He asked for the Ethics Board opinion after the Legislature imposed a prohibition on state employees' involvement in activities sponsored by other people." [Baton Rouge Advocate <https://pelosi.dccc.org/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/33428124.html?index=27%26c=y> , 10/28/08]
- At the recent Baton Rouge Press Club Forum, Cassidy stated that "LSU approved everything." [Baton Rouge Press Club forum, 10/13/08]
- Cassidy failed to submit any "Disclosure of Outside Employment" forms or "Prior Approval Request for Travel" forms to LSU for the dozens of trips, speakers bureaus, and drug funded studies that he participated in. [LSU FOIA; Cassidy CV <https://pelosi.dccc.org/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.lsuhsc.edu/hcsd/ekl/hcvir/cv_wcassidy.htm> ]
- Cassidy requested an advisory opinion from the Louisiana Board of Ethics, which found on April 18, 2006 that Cassidy could not receive honoraria or travel expenses, but could act as a paid consultant as long as he obtained prior, written approval. [Ethics Board Docket No. 2006-247]
- After receiving the ethics opinion in 2006, Cassidy submitted three "Disclosure of Outside Employment" forms for his activities with Merck. Requests as Merck consultant include:
- Giving a talk on Hepatitis A in Memphis, Tennessee for Merck.
- Giving a talk on Hepatitis A in Tyler, Texas for Merck.
- Doing training programs over the phone on hepatitis for Merck. [LSU FOIA]