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Krysten Sinema Gets Backing from a Pharma Front Group

A drugmaker-funded dark money group is blanketing the Arizona airwaves to drum up support for Democratic senator Kyrsten Sinema, who recently voted to torpedo the Democrats’ drug price proposal. According to AdImpact data, Center Forward, which has long been backed by the powerful drug lobby Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), has spent $1.2 million in Arizona to boost Sinema since September. The group’s ad campaign began immediately after Politico revealed that  had alerted the Biden White House of opposition to the party’s plan to let Medicare negotiate prescription pricing.

With Sinema poll numbers lagging due to her efforts to stall and weaken President Joe Biden’s social spending reconciliation package — which included the drug pricing provision — Center Forward recently invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in a new round of television ads promoting Sinema. The media effort demonstrates how corporate interests pick, protect, and reward their top legislative obstructors.

In Sinema instance, she has been widely chastised for doing corporate America’s bidding in discussions over the Democrats’ social-spending plan and refusing to discuss it with the media or her people. So now, Center Forward is using one of the cleanest corporate propaganda ads you’ll ever see to try to blunt the voter response, complete with imagery of a car and someone on a horse racing through the desert. Center Forward bills itself as a “centrist” lobbying group concerned with “how the legislative process has been tainted by the overwhelming divisiveness that exists in politics.”

In truth, Center Forward is a business front organization with corporate lobbyists on its board of directors. Two board members, Forbes Tate Partners’ Libby Greer and Cindy Brown, represent PhRMA, a powerful lobbying organization for pharmaceutical interests that generated more than $525 million in 2019.

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