Law and Crime
President Donald Trump on Sunday once again touted the potential life-saving benefits of treating coronavirus patients with hydroxychloroquine, a powerful anti-malaria drug, despite a dearth of medical professionals or clinical evidence supporting his claims. It just so happens that one of the largest manufacturers of the drug, Novartis, previously paid Trump’s now-incarcerated former personal attorney Michael Cohen more than $1 million for healthcare policy insight following Trump’s election in 2016.
The Swiss drug maker signed a contract that paid Cohen’s newly formed limited-liability corporation Essential Consultants $100,000 per month in February of 2017. After details of the deal were leaked by the now-jailed Michael Avenatti, whose then-client Stormy Daniels was engaged in a legal dispute with the president, the company’s CEO issued a public apology saying Novartis “made a mistake” in contracting with the president’s personal attorney.
Fast forward a few years and Cohen is currently in federal prison serving a three-year sentence for campaign finance violations, tax fraud, and bank fraud. Novartis, on the other hand, just agreed to donate up to 130 million doses of the unproven drug to help fight COVID-19.
April 6, 2020
New York Times
The Small Business Administration doled out tens of millions of dollars in contracts in recent days — including $50 million for a contract linked to the firm of a friend and donor to President Trump — to help it deal with the deluge of loan applications from businesses ravaged by the coronavirus-triggered economic collapse. […]
On Sunday, the agency’s Office of Disaster Assistance issued an emergency $50 million contract to support its processing of coronavirus disaster loans to a Virginia-based government contractor called RER Solutions. It is partnering on its S.B.A. work with Rocket Loans, a Detroit-based company that provides consumer loans online.
Rocket Loans is part of a family of companies founded by the billionaire Dan Gilbert, who also co-founded Quicken Loans, which donated $750,000 to Mr. Trump’s inauguration and $67,000 to the committee that hosted the 2016 Republican convention. Mr. Gilbert has visited the White House, where Mr. Trump singled him out as “a great friend of mine, a supporter and great guy.”
Quicken Loans last year paid $32.5 million to settle a years-old lawsuit in which it was accused by the Justice Department of making hundreds of improper loans through the Federal Housing Administration’s lending program, costing the agency millions of dollars.
April 3, 2020