MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign has released a second campaign television ad this week, focusing on opioid addiction, as part of a more than $1.5 million buy. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross noted Walker has been a longtime beneficiary of drug industry money for his electoral efforts, including taking a $10,000 contribution from Mort Sackler, the late founder of Purdue Pharma. Sackler’s company produced and marketed Oxycontin, the opioid which has been most destructive in fueling the epidemic.
“We won’t solve Wisconsin’s opioid crisis until Scott Walker is no longer addicted to big pharma campaign money,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “Counties across Wisconsin have had to sue the opioid manufacturers because Scott Walker had blocked Wisconsin from suing the opioid cartel.”
Gov. Walker was also the head of the Republicans Governors Association, which has among its top contributors big pharma. The RGA has pumped over $10 million into Scott Walker’s three previous campaigns for governor and has already booked $5 million more in television ads for Walker this fall.
In the 1990s, Scott Walker worked as Corrections Committee chair supporting “truth in sentencing” penalties for drug-related crimes, which experts agree targeted communities of color. During his tenure as RGA head, Walker was criticized for taking $25,000 from the National Cannabis Industry Association at the same time he has signed laws requiring drug testing for unemployment insurance recipients and public benefits in Wisconsin. Walker is also seeking to make Wisconsin the first state in history to drug test Medicaid recipients.
Ross included a recent report on how the pharmaceutical industry flooded rural areas with opioids.