– News – The State Journal-Register – Springfield, IL

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A Washington, D.C.-based organization that has received millions of dollars from the pharmaceutical industry is running a $350,000 ad campaign promoting U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, and a bill he supports.

It is part of the American Action Network’s announced $4 million campaign to push H.R. 19 in 16 congressional districts, all represented by Republicans. Davis is the only Illinois congressman in the group.

AAN backs H.R. 19 instead of H.R. 3, which Davis’ Democratic opponent, Betsy Dirksen Londrigan has called "common sense legislation" that would help working families by allowing Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices.

In a statement after the TV ad started running, Londrigan said families in the 13th should "have a representative who will fight for them rather than side with the pharmaceutical companies."

On its website, AAN calls H.R. 19 "the bipartisan alternative to (U.S. House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi’s socialist prescription drug plan."

The organization cites a White House prediction that the controls and costs in H.R. 3 would mean drug companies would lead to 100 fewer drugs being developed over a decade.

Calvin Moore, AAN spokesman, said the group is spending about $350,000 over four weeks in the 13th Congressional District.

A narrator in a 30-second version of the Davis ad – similar to those produced on behalf of the other lawmakers in other states – says an "unprecedented pandemic" has "threatened our health and our economy. We must innovate to produce the cure. Thankfully, our congressman, Rodney Davis, is working with both parties to accelerate innovation and find cures faster. Rodney Davis’ bill would lower prescription costs while fostering innovation so we can find a vaccine."

Tiffany Muller, president of End Citizens United, a group that has endorsed Londrigan, said the pharmaceutical industry money behind the ad shows that "representatives like Rodney Davis are bought and paid for by Big Pharma."

Aaron DeGroot, spokesman for Davis, said while Londrigan says she won’t take corporate political action committee money, she gets help from organizations that do. The Davis campaign has pointed out Londrigan gets help from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which gets such donations.

The AAN has produced ads backing Davis before – including a $90,000 campaign last fall thanking him for focusing on important issues and standing against impeachment of President Donald Trump. The group also ran about $1.5 million in ads attacking Davis’ 2012 Democratic opponent. And it ran ads thanking Davis, in 2017, for backing the Republican tax reform plan.

In January, the network spent $115,000 doing ads in the 13th praising Davis, backing H.R. 19 and opposing H.R. 3.

A group called Issue One has found that from 2009 to 2017, the lobby group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America gave AAN $12 million.

H.R. 3, officially known as the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, passed the House, controlled by Democrats, but not the GOP-controlled Senate. H.R. 19, called the Lower Costs, More Cures Act of 2019, was introduced but did not pass the House.

The 13th House race is one of the most closely watched in the country, as it is considered a swing district and Londrigan came within a percentage point of Davis in 2018.

Recently filed campaign finance reports show Londrigan raised more than $800,000 in the three months ending June 30, and had nearly $2.5 million on hand when that period ended. Davis raised $510,000 during the period, and had $1.85 million in the bank at its end.

At the same juncture of the 2018 campaign, Londrigan had less than $660,000 in her account, and Davis had $1.59 million.

The Davis campaign has also taken aim, as it did in 2018, at Londrigan’s ties to Democrats. Among those ties, the campaign said, is that Mike McClain of Quincy, a former Commonwealth Edison lobbyist and close confidant of House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, "is funding Londrigan’s campaign."

McClain said earlier this year he had been asked to cooperate with federal investigators looking into ComEd.

McClain had donated a total of $550 to Londrigan, said her campaign manager, Jason Plotnick, and that amount was donated in November to Sista Girls & Friends, a Decatur nonprofit dedicated to mentoring and empowering young women.

Meanwhile, the Lugar Center and Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy ranked Davis the 13th most bipartisan members of Congress, out of 437 members, including non-voting delegates from Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.

The bipartisan index developed there measures the frequency with which a member co-sponsors bills filed by people across the aisle, and how often the member’s bills are co-sponsored by people across the aisle.

A different ‘brunch’

In this age of COVID-19, the the Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association says its annual brunch – which has been the morning of the State Fair’s Democrat Day – will be virtual.

"We’re calling it ’Brunch at 6," said Dan Kovats, executive director of the group. The organization is asking that people still pay $50 for the virtual event that will be at 6 p.m. Aug. 31. The State Fair was canceled this year.

Last summer, the brunch in Springfield featured Speaker Pelosi.

"We want to continue to give Democrats a way to come together and kick off the fall campaign season," Kovats said. "But with the concern with COVID-19, it doesn’t make sense to do something in person. And we’re not going to put anybody’s health at risk over a political event."

Condolences

Condolences to friends and family of Jim Moody, a former chairman of the Sangamon County Democratic Party who died on July 4 at age 61.

Preliminary investigation suggests suicide, Sangamon County Coroner Jim Allmon said. Moody’s body was found in a wooded area off the 1200 block of Toronto Road.

Moody was a lawyer and certified public accountant who chaired the local party from 2009 to 2012.

"Jimmy lived his life to the fullest and was a very generous man," said his obituary posted by Butler Funeral Home. "He was an excellent attorney representing hard-working union members. And, he adored his daughter, Claudia. … He followed his father’s footsteps and was a past president of the Sons of Erin and always enjoyed celebrating St. Patrick’s Day."

His late father, also named Jim, was a long time Sangamon County Board member known as "the mayor of the North End."

"I really liked and enjoyed working with Jim Moody as a precinct committee person and as the county chair," said Springfield Ward 3 Ald. Doris Turner, who succeeded Moody running the party and remains its leader. "He was very helpful in the transition and going forward. I was very said to learn of his death."

"He will be missed," said Mary Moody of Chicago, one of his sisters. "He was a great brother and a great dad to his daughter."

Contact Bernard Schoenburg: Bernard.schoenburg@sj-r.com, 788-1540, twitter.com/bschoenburg

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via The State Journal-Register

July 18, 2020 at 09:29PM

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