A mailer sent out by Democratic Party gubernatorial nominee Tim Kaine last month implies that Republican Party rival Jerry Kilgore held off on launching a state investigation into a pharmaceutical company’s actions regarding its alleged overbilling of the federal Medicaid system during his term as Virginia’s attorney general because the company was once headed up by a political sugar daddy.
Kilgore responded on Friday by crying foul.
“In January, Mr. Kaine stated, ‘You won’t see Tim Kaine trashing the supporters of my opponent, because I’m not running against them.’ Yet he now has a mailing that attacks a supporter of mine, John Gregory, and he does so by name,” Kilgore told reporters in a conference call on Friday afternoon.
Gregory is a Tennessee businessman who founded King Pharmaceuticals and ran the company until his retirement in 2002. The federal government initiated an investigation of the company in 2003 for its pricing of drugs for Medicaid patients nationwide dating back to 1999.
Gregory has contributed $250,000 to the Kilgore gubernatorial campaign to date, and also contributed $75,000 to his 2001 attorney-general campaign and $50,000 to his 2002 inaugural committee, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.
“The issue is about leadership, and it’s about whether or not someone chooses their political interests over doing what’s best for Virginians, or they stand up for what’s right,” Kaine campaign spokesperson Delacey Skinner told The Augusta Free Press.
“What we’ve seen out of Jerry Kilgore is that when faced with the choice between protecting a donor or doing what’s best for Virginians, he generally seems to pick his donors,” Skinner said.
Kilgore spokesman Tim Murtaugh noted that the federal government has taken the lead on the investigation of King Pharmaceuticals – and that none of the other 49 states that could have begun their own inquiries into the company’s actions have done so to date.
Kilgore said Kaine is “increasingly engaging in a campaign that is more and more bitter in its tone, personal in its accusations, unhinged from reality and disconnected from true facts.”
“When this campaign opened, I frankly hoped that we would have a campaign based upon straightforward discussions of our records and visions,” Kilgore said. “I do believe that records matter, that the best way to tell where someone is going is to look at where they’ve been. I believe that honest visions do matter, that voters need to know where candidates honestly want to take Virginia.
“Based on his recent actions and statements, my opponent has apparently decided that records mean nothing, and that visions need to be blurried,” Kilgore said.
Skinner’s response: “It should be up to Virginia voters to decide if they think that (the matter involving King Pharmaceuticals) was something that Jerry Kilgore should have looked into or not.”