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"Group says Davis should return drug company contributions"


Bernard Schoenburg, State Journal Register.

Rodriguez is with the grassroots political group CU Indivisible, which is criticizing Republican Congressman Rodney Davis, for taking $33,000 this election cycle from companies that make or distribute prescription opioids. The group, located in his district, says he has taken about $95,000 from such companies over his entire career. 

Like many member of Congress, U.S. Rep. RODNEY DAVIS has identified opioid abuse as a big problem.

But he’s also taken money from companies that lawsuits have accused of helping perpetuate the problem through the ways they make, market or distribute the drugs. And a progressive group from Champaign-Urbana, CU Indivisible, is asking that he return the donations, which amount to more than $30,000 this election cycle and more than $90,000 since 2011.

But CAMERON RAAB, a founder of CU Indivisible, says the national group leaves it up to local groups, and at CU, “We choose not to endorse any candidates ever. We feel this sends a message to any candidate that regardless of their party affiliation, once they’re in office we will continue to push for transparency and accountability.”

EMILY RODRIGUEZ, 27, of Champaign, is part of the group, and she lost her 25-year-old partner from Indiana to an accidental opioid overdose earlier this year. He didn’t drink or do drugs years ago, but fell into recreational use of opioids while at Indiana University, she said. More recently, he was working on his plumbing license, but after being in rehab, the overdose occurred.

“My partner’s death could have been prevented through better public policy, and it’s deeply offensive to his memory that my representative thinks it’s OK to take money from those responsible for his death,” Rodriguez said.

ASHLEY PHELPS, spokeswoman for Davis, said fighting opioids is a “truly bipartisan” effort, and “it’s just sad that this political group would try to minimize this very serious issue.”

Full story here.