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U.S. Sen. Cory Booker. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe)

Booker won’t take pharma money

Herlinsky clarifies statement to mean only executives, not all employees

By David Wildstein, February 07 2019 3:49 pm

Cory Booker’s presidential campaign will not accept campaign contributions from anyone who works as an executive in the pharmaceutical industry, according to a fundraising solicitation from one of his longtime supporters.

“Cory2020 is not taking donations from corporate PACs, lobbyists or individuals who work in the pharmaceutical industry,” said attorney Victor Herlinsky in an e-mail that accompanied an invitation to the fundraiser.

On Thursday evening, Herlinsky clarified his statement to say that Booker would not accept money from executives at pharmaceutical companies, but would accept contributions from other employees.

Herlinsky was a fundraiser for Booker’s 1998 campaign for city council in Newark and a longtime friend.

The event will be held at the Stony Hill Inn in Hackensack on February 19.  A $2,700 contribution includes admission to a host reception and a photo with Booker. There are also $500 and $1,000 options available.

Booker has been accused of being too close to drug companies, a major employer in New Jersey, and was criticized in 2017 when he voted against a budget amendment that backed importing prescription drugs from abroad.

During his 2014 re-election campaign, Booker raised more than $325,000 from donors affiliated with the pharmaceutical and health products industries, according to Open Secrets.

Last year, Booker stopped raising money from the pharma industry in order to obviate any disparagement.

Around the same time, he strongly criticized New Jersey-based Celgene for the high costs of a live-saving cancer drug.  The former CEO of that company was Bob Hugin, the Republican candidate for New Jersey’s other U.S. Senate seat.

Samantha Maltzman, a veteran fundraiser who has worked for Booker’s Senate campaigns and as Hillary Clinton’s New Jersey finance director, is coordinating the event.

An earlier version of this story identified Herlinsky as a former Booker law partner.  He was not.

2.19.19 Cory 2020 Invitation (Hackensack)

Herlinsky fundraising e-mail

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