A report aired Sunday from the Washington Post and 60 Minutes detailed the role Congressman Tom Marino (R-Lycoming), President Trump’s nominee to head the Office of National Drug Control Policy, played in a law that weakened the Drug Enforcement Administration’s ability to go after drug distributors.
The bill, that was pushed primarily by Marino, effectively makes it impossible for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to stop suspicious narcotic shipments from companies.
“Political action committees representing the industry contributed at least $1.5 million to the 23 lawmakers who sponsored or co-sponsored four versions of the bill, including nearly $100,000 to Marino,” the report reads.
Marino had pushed for changes to the DEA’s authority over drug distributors since 2014.
“On Feb. 18, 2014, Marino introduced the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act, making an effort to define what constitutes ‘imminent danger.’ The proposal raised the DEA’s standard for suspending drug shipments by requiring that the agency establish ‘a significant and present risk of death or serious bodily harm that is more likely than not to occur,’” the report said.
“Marino declined repeated requests for comment. Marino’s staff called the U.S. Capitol Police when The Post and “60 Minutes” tried to interview the congressman at his office on Sept. 12.”
Marino is continuing to serve as a Congressman until he is confirmed by the Senate, but West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin called for Trump to recall Marino’s nomination.
“During the biggest public health crisis since HIV/AIDS, we need someone leading the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy who believes we must protect our people, not the pharmaceutical industry,” Manchin said.