Fast and Furious
Now this: Obama’s Half-Billion-Dollar Crony Drug Deal
By Michelle Malkin
November 16, 2011
What do you get when you mix Democratic fat-cat donations, Big Labor favors, pharmaceutical lobbying and Beltway business as usual? Answer: another toxic half-billion-dollar Barack Obama-approved crony deal. Move over, Solyndra. Here comes Siga-Gate.This latest Chicago-style payoff on your dime involves a dubious smallpox drug backed by a liberal billionaire investor, along with a former union boss who was one of the White House’s most frequent visitors. They’re the “1 percent” with 100 percent immunity from the selectively outraged Occupier mobs that purport to oppose partisan government bailouts and handouts to privileged corporations.
Ronald Perelman is the New York City-based leveraged buyout wheeler-dealer who controls Siga Technologies. He has donated nearly $130,000 mostly to Democrats over the past two election cycles alone, and he forked over $50,000 to pay for the president’s lavish inaugural parties. A Siga affiliate pitched in nearly half a million more in contributions — 65 percent of which went to Democrats — and the firms have spent millions on lobbying.
Perelman’s pharma company makes an experimental antiviral pill used by smallpox patients who received diagnoses too late to be treated with the existing smallpox vaccine. Smallpox experts cast doubt on the need for the drug given ample vaccine stockpiles, the remoteness of a mass attack and questions about its efficacy. But over the objections of federal contract negotiators, competitors and scientists, the Obama administration approved a lucrative $433 million no-bid deal for Siga in May. No other manufacturers were able to compete for the “sole source” procurement, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The special arrangement was made after a competitor objected to the administration’s violating small-business rules during a first call for bids. That’s right: It’s yet another rigged giveaway from a Hope-and-Change champion who vowed on the 2008 campaign trail to “end the abuse of no-bid contracts once and for all.”
Intensifying the culture-of-corruption stench: the critical role of Andy Stern. He’s the profligate, corruption-coddling former head of the powerful Service Employees International Union — the 2.2 million-member public-employee union powerhouse that he left in April 2010 with a mountain of debt and eroding rank-and-file pensions.
After pouring some $60 million of workers’ dues into Democratic coffers, Stern was rewarded by Obama with a cozy spot on the White House deficit panel and dozens of visits to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue — including at least seven with the president, one with Vice President Joe Biden, and meetings with Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Biden Chief of Staff Ron Klain, OMB Director Peter Orszag, health czar aide Jennifer Cannistra and Valerie Jarrett’s former high-powered aide and Chicago fundraiser Tina Tchen.
In a classic access-buying maneuver, Siga placed Stern on its board of directors in June 2010. Four months later, Siga nabbed an estimated $3 billion contract. By January of this year, Siga’s stock had skyrocketed. The House GOP has been investigating the deal for months, which comes amid separate allegations of insider trading and political profiteering by investigative journalist Peter Schweizer.