Judge: Purdue Pharma must halt some political contributions

(AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

By Geoff Mulvihill. Associated Press

A federal bankruptcy judge ruled Tuesday that OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma can’t make any more contributions to partisan organizations that seek to boost the election efforts of candidates for state attorney general offices.

The company can keep contributing to some other political groups, according to the ruling from Judge Robert Drain.

Lawyers asked Drain to block Purdue from making political contributions earlier this month when it was revealed that the company had given $185,000 to political groups after declaring bankruptcy last year.

Advocates were particularly troubled by contributions to the Democratic Attorneys General Association and the Republican Attorneys General Association because state attorneys general are suing the company and trying to negotiate a settlement with it. Both groups said earlier this month that they would return the contributions to Purdue, as have partisan groups representing the nation’s governors.

The company said participating in the political groups is a normal part of its business.

Under Drain’s order, the company can make annual cash contributions to the Democratic Governors Association, the Republican Governors Association, the Republican State Leadership Committee and the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee.

The amounts will be limited. Purdue can give no more than $25,000 to each group during the remainder of its bankruptcy proceedings, plus the cost of conference registration. It can make contributions to other political organizations, but only after notifying the court. The total of all contributions must be under $125,000.

Through its bankruptcy, Purdue is attempting to settle thousands of lawsuits filed by governments that accuse the company of contributing to the nation’s opioid addiction crisis.

©The Associated Press 2020

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