Alex Philippidis Senior News Editor Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

More House, Senate Republicans among the biggest winners of campaign cash from the industry

The Congressional election cycle that ended earlier this month was good to Republicans beyond the obvious reasons of extending their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives and capturing a majority of the U.S. Senate.

The cycle also saw a wider GOP majority when it comes to Congressional recipients of campaign cash from the pharma industry—14 Republicans and six Democrats in 2013-14, compared with a more balanced 11 Republicans and nine Democrats in the 2011-12 cycle.

Reasons for the GOP surge range from stauncher support for industry stances on issues, to the departure from Congress of several industry-friendly Democrats, to the overall midterm election success enjoyed by Republicans in campaigning against an increasingly unpopular Democratic president in Barack Obama.

Another, less obvious reason: The embrace by big pharma of numerous representatives with key committee or caucus positions, most of them Republican. For example, the House Energy and Commerce Committee has seven members on this List, led by committee Chair Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), while Ways & Means has four members, three who also sit on its  subcommittee on health.

This year’s Top 20 Pharma-Friendly Congress Members includes only six lawmakers who appeared on GEN’s 2012 edition of this List. The six consist of five Republicans and one Democrat. Of the 14 lawmakers appearing on this List who did not make the 2012 edition, 10 are Republicans (seven in the House, three in the Senate), while the other four are Democrats (three in the House, one in the Senate).

Two lawmakers appearing this year were ousted by voters—Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), who resigned in August after losing a primary to his eventual successor; and Sen. Kay R. Hagan (D-NC), who lost narrowly on Election Day.

Below is a list of the 20 members of Congress (both Senate and House of Representatives) that have received the most in campaign contributions from pharmaceutical companies during the 2013–2014 election cycle, as recorded by the Center for Responsive Politics (OpenSecrets.org) based on data from the Federal Election Commission released on Oct. 25. Figures reflect contributions from both political action committees (PACs) and individuals giving $200 or more.


#20. Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) (1)

Total contributions: $156,098


#19. Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL)

Total contributions: $160,600


#18. Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY)

Total contributions: $167,082


#17. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ)

Total contributions: $167,572


#16. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)

Total contributions: $173,900


#15. Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL)

Total contributions: $175,275


#14. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)

Total contributions: $175,750


#13. Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA)

Total contributions: $187,500


#12. Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI)

Total contributions: $194,400


#11. Sen. Kay R. Hagan (D-NC) (2)

Total contributions: $201,188


#10. Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA)

Total contributions: $203,109


#9. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)

Total contributions: $213,727


#8. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN)

Total contributions: $218,850


#7. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ)

Total contributions: $234,050


#6. Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN)

Total contributions: $234,199


#5. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)

Total contributions: $238,600


#4. Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)

Total contributions: $247,000


#3. Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA)

Total contributions: $273,050


#2. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

Total contributions: $303,023


#1. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI)

Total contributions: $310,200






















1 Resigned from the U.S. House of Representatives on Aug. 18, following his defeat in a party primary to Dave Brat, Ph.D., who now represents Virginia’s 7th District.
2 Defeated in Nov. 4 general election by Republican Thom Tillis, who will hold the office when the 114th Congress convenes in January 2015.

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