Upton has taken nearly $1 million from Big Pharma. He has received $96,500 from Pfizer, a company that raised the prices on 116 different prescription drugs in a span of just a couple weeks leading into 2018.
Upton has twice topped or been near the top of the Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology list of “Pharma-Friendly Congress Members.” In 2014, he secured the number one spot in the industry publication’s rankings.
When he was previously the chair of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, Upton blocked bills that could lower drug prices. He has also voted against allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies.
Upton also voted on a bill that is contributing to the enormous drug price increases for consumers. The legislation, which kept the federal government from negotiating lower prices for prescription medications, has been called by critics “a giant gift to the drug industry.”
Upton Works for Corporations, Not Michiganders
Since 2007, Fred Upton has taken over $6.5 million from corporate PACs.
Upton formerly chaired the House Energy & Commerce Committee, which oversees internet-related matters. He’s benefited from the position, including having received over $771,000 from the telecom industry over his career. Upton has made himself a strong ally of the industry. He supported Comcast’s merger with NBC Universal and voted for measures that allow the telecom industry to sell customer data without their permission.
His clear support of the industry is not coincidental. After Upton proposed legislation to kill the FCC’s authority to enforce net neutrality, he received over $31,000 from companies opposing net neutrality.
Upton’s willingness to sell out the American people to help his corporate donors is not isolated to the telecom industry. Once reasonable about energy policy, Upton voted for The Clean Air Act Amendments in 1990. However, while he only took a small amount of money from the oil and gas industry as recently as 1998, that amount has increased by over 2,000% between then and 2018. In total, Upton has received over $1.1 million from the industry throughout his career.
Once the money started pouring in, Upton changed course. He has tried to repeal the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, supported the Keystone XL pipeline, and has supported legislation that provided subsidies to dirty fossil fuels while gutting funding for renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Upton Keeps Close Ties to Lobbyists
Upton has proven he is a loyal friend to the lobbying industry. Since he entered office, Upton has taken $745,000 from lobbyists. In 2015, the Bryce Harlow Foundation, a professional organization for lobbyists, even gave Upton an award for his loyalty.
Upton’s personal office and the Energy & Commerce Committee when under his chairmanship had a combined 57 staffers who were lobbyists before they worked for him or became lobbyists after they worked for him. His offices were literally a wide-open revolving door for special interests.
Upton’s former legislative director is now the top lobbyist for Purdue Pharma, the Oxycontin manufacturer who is at the center of the opioid crisis.