UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

September 8, 2009

OBAMA NOMINEE TIED TO BIOTECH INDUSTRY

Washington Times - President Obama's nominee at the Department of Homeland Security overseeing bioterrorism defense has served as a key adviser for a lobbying group funded by the pharmaceutical industry that has asked the government to spend more money for anthrax vaccines and biodefense research. But Dr. Tara O'Toole, whose confirmation as undersecretary of science and technology is pending, never reported her involvement with the lobbying group called the Alliance for Biosecurity in a recent government ethics filing. The alliance has spent more than $500,000 lobbying Congress and federal agencies -- including Homeland Security -- since 2005, congressional records show. . . Analysts say the lack of disclosure reflects a potential loophole in the policies for the Obama administration, which has boasted about its efforts to make government more transparent. They also question lobbying laws that allow such a group to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars without the public knowing exactly how much money each of the companies that belongs to the group contributes, though such arrangements are permitted under the law.

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