DEA Whistleblowers Tordedo Trump Nominee for DEA Before He Ever Gets Hearing
In what can only be described as a classic example of corporate fascism (in the strictest sense of the term) DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) whistleblowers claimed on a recent interview on 60 minutes that attempts to investigate drug companies were quelled at the highest levels of the agency.
The cessation of investigations began around 2013 at the same time that drug companies began to hire former DEA officials, thus creating an ever blurring line between the state and the corporation.
From Mint Press News
In an interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes, which aired on Sunday, the former head of the DEA’s Office of Diversion Control, Joe Rannazzisi, accused his former employer of bowing to pressure from the pharmaceutical industry, which led the agency to turn down cases targeting large distributors and producers of opiates — cases it would once have easily approved.
Former DEA attorney Jonathan Novak backed up Rannazzisi’s claims, arguing that the change in protocol for investigating and prosecuting large pharmaceutical companies and their distributors first began in 2013. “These were not cases […] where it was grey… These were cases where the evidence was crystal clear that there was wrongdoing going on,” Novak told CBS.
Another DEA whistleblower who appeared on the program — Jim Geldhof, a former DEA investigator — spoke of a particular case in which he was confronted with bureaucratic “roadblocks” by DEA supervisors when trying to investigate how 11 million opiate pills found their way into a rural West Virginia county with a population of just 25,000:
Every time I talked to this guy he wants something else. And I get it for him and that’s still not good enough. And this goes on and on and on. When these roadblocks keep get thrown up in your face, at that point you know they just don’t want the case.”
Many of the members of this new cadre of DEA whistleblowers asserted that one of the chief reasons for the agency’s change in behavior was the emergence of a “revolving door” between the DEA and top pharmaceutical companies. As CBS noted, at least 46 DEA investigators, attorneys, and supervisors were hired by the pharmaceutical industry once scrutiny of major drug distributors began. According to DEA Chief Administrative Law Judge John J. Mulrooney, one of the pharmaceutical industry’s hires from the DEA went on to write legislation that “made it all but impossible” to go after opiate distributors acting in an unlawful manner…..
….Indeed, it was Congress that passed the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act, the bill DEA whistleblowers have blamed for making unscrupulous drug companies practically impossible to prosecute. The measure was co-sponsored by Tom Marino (R-PA), who was recently nominated by President Trump to head the DEA and has since withdrawn his name from consideration after the DEA whistleblowers came forward. Seven months after the bill became law, Marino’s chief of staff, Bill Tighe, became a lobbyist for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.
This chain of events, which culminated in Marino’s embarrassing withdrawal, likely came to pass because Rannazzisi, after catching wind of the bill, accused Marino and the bill’s other co-sponsor, Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), of protecting drug companies at the expense of the public. Marino and Blackburn later wrote to the Justice Department, demanding that Rannazzisi be investigated for attempts to “intimidate the United States Congress.” Their plea later led Rannazzisi to be demoted, pushing him to resign.