Who should our elected representatives represent? The people who elected them, or shadowy corporations behind the scenes?
On paper, the answer should be obvious, but in practice, corruption is festering for New York State Senator Kemp Hannon who passed a law forcing vaccinations on 7th and 12th graders while simultaneously taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from Big Pharma.
Conflict of interest anyone?
The law would mandate children in 7th and 12th grade to receive a vaccination for meningitis.
But the corrupt revelations suggest the possibility that Kemp may have passed the regulation in order to benefit his own personal financial interests.
According to the New York Daily News:
Sen. Kemp Hannon (R-Nassau County) in 2014 invested in 14 companies that would fall under his committee’s purview.
By comparison, Assembly Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan) did not report owning any stock in health-related companies.
In addition to his investments, Hannon over the past four years also received more than $420,000 from pharmaceutical and other medical interests, records show.
Hannon’s office had no comment. On the part of his 2014 state financial disclosure form dealing with investments, he wrote that sales and purchases were ‘at sole discretion of the broker.’
By pinning the blame on his broker, Kemp is attempting to absolve himself of the damning allegations against him.
However, even if his broker allotted his finances, it still begs the question: why wouldn’t Kemp instruct his broker to take into consideration any potential conflicts of interest that would jeopardize public trust?
But the Senator’s ties to Big Pharma are much deeper. The New York Daily News reports:
Sen. Kemp Hannon (R-Nassau County) sponsored a $30,000 state grant in 2007-08 to Winthrop University Hospital on Long Island, according to state records posted online. The money was to help the hospital continue with outreach programs, according to the records.
In 2008-09, Hannon sponsored another $35,000 grant to the hospital that was for “community health,” records show.
Two other grants, totaling $20,000, went to an organization that was working with Winthrop pediatric residents.
In addition to being a senator since 1989, Hannon since the mid 1980s has been a “special counsel” with the Long Island-based Farrell Fritz PC .
The firm has represented Winthrop University Hospital in cases dating back to 1993, and had cases at the time Hannon secured the two grants.
In addition, the firm’s managing partner, Charles Strain. has served as the unpaid chairman the hospital’s board of directors.
There is something seriously wrong with the state’s political system when the people’s own representatives are jeopardizing children’s health for financial kickbacks from the companies producing vaccinations.