Maine Sen. Susan Collins is not having a good week. All eyes are on her over impeachment, where she's alternately trying to pretend she's all responsible for getting witnesses for the Senate trial (the presence of which has not been confirmed) while at the same time blowing off the new evidence provided by Rudolph Giuliani associate Lev Parnas.
That's all D.C. stuff, though, so what are people talking about in Maine, where Collins has had such an easy political life? Well, they're talking about how she lied to a constituent about taking money from the Sackler family, and has refused to return her campaign donations from Eli Lilly. Back in 2007, she got $2,300 from Jonathan Sackler, former vice president and son of the former head of Purdue Pharmaceuticals. That was just a few months before Purdue had to pay $600 million in fines for misleading regulators, doctors, and patients about the addictive nature of OxyContin. The Maine Beacon, a project of the Maine People's Alliance, reports "Eli Lilly’s PAC has given Collins at least $5,000 and their lobbyist, Leigh Ann Pusey, gave the maximum donation of $2,700 to Collins in 2018. She also gave at least $2,000 to Collins’ political action committee, 'Dirigo PAC.'" Back in
Here’s what she told a constituent, Maine's People Alliance co-director Amy Halsted, about the Sackler donation: "That's not true. That's not true. So where did you hear that? From the Sacklers? No, I have not. […] Never. No, no. So, I think you should check your sources." Never in this election cycle, perhaps? Seems like it would be smart of Collins to be doing some opposition research on herself this time around, so she can be prepared next time she has to answer a tricky question. Which, frankly, isn't very often since she refuses to have town hall meetings with constituents.
Collins also told Halsted that she would not be returning any money from the pharmaceutical companies that have made Maine one of the top 10 states for opioid overdose deaths. She won't return the money, nor will she donate it to charity. She's above all that. "I'm not influenced by the contributions that my campaign receives," she said.
Not at all. She's already in their pocket—because she is just another extremist Republican.
Published with permission from Daily Kos.