Providence, R.I. — Bob Flanders, former State Supreme Court Justice and Republican Candidate for U.S. Senate, announced today that when elected to the U.S. Senate he will place all of his investment assets into a Qualified Blind Trust (or its equivalent) to avoid any conflicts of interest. This comes after a story in the Washington Post criticized Senator Sheldon Whitehouse for his support of the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement act while he was personally profiting from trading in hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stock in drug companies.
Per a Washington Post investigation, the “Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act was the culmination of a multiyear effort by drug distribution companies and pharmacy chains to counter aggressive DEA enforcement actions.”
“Senator Whitehouse has blood on his hands,” said Flanders. “His portfolio of investments in drug companies placed him in direct conflict with multiple pieces of legislation favoring such companies that he has sponsored. The nation’s largest drug distribution firms and pharmacy chains drove this legislation through Congress during the height of the opioid epidemic,” continued Flanders. “For Sen. Whitehouse to say he was ‘acting in patients’ interests’ by sponsoring this legislation is either catastrophically out-of-touch with reality or deliberately deceptive.
Whitehouse, who claims all his holdings are managed by a broker, declined an interview request with the Washington Post regarding this story.
“Not only has Sheldon Whitehouse taken the lead in allowing opioid manufacturers and distributors to avoid criminal prosecution, he has profited from it both politically and personally. As your next senator, I will reject any and all political donations from companies manufacturing and distributing opioids and, to avoid conflicts of interest, I will make sure I have no ability to track or direct the investment of my personal assets by using a blind trust (or its equivalent) as other senators do,” Flanders said.
Senator Whitehouse is recorded as having holdings worth between $95,000 and $250,000 in one large pharmaceutical firm, as well as having multiple Whitehouse family accounts that actively traded thousands of dollars worth in stock of other drug companies such as Gilead, Abbott, Biogen, and McKesson, all while voting on another bill which favorably affected the pharmaceutical industry, the 21stCentury Cures Bill, that passed in 2016, per a 2017 POLITICO investigation.
Flanders added: “I further promise that when I’m elected to the U.S. Senate, Rhode Islanders will not have to worry about my personal investments creating conflicts of interest with my work as their Senator. I’m going to Washington for one reason only – to go to work for Rhode Islanders. I vow to crack down on fraud and crime of all kinds, but putting a stop to the opioid epidemic is one of my highest priorities.”
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