News Bite

Sen. Stabenow slams Big Pharma, Big Oil, but takes their donations

Over the decades, the companies Stabenow blames for high prices have been big-dollar donors to her campaigns

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, tweeted on Aug. 5 that corporate price gouging is hurting Americans in the wallet.

But they did have some politicians on their side, she said. “Democrats are standing up to Big Pharma and Big Oil to lower costs for Americans.”

What she didn’t share is that she has received campaign donations from Big Pharma and Big Oil throughout her congressional career.

Stabenow was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2002. Before that, she served in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Michigan Legislature.

Stabenow received $9,000 in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry during her first term as senator, according to She received $3,650 from pharmaceutical manufacturers the same year and a total of $13,150 from what OpenSecrets calls “pharmaceuticals/health” interests the same year.

The senator received a total of $99,506 in contributions from oil and gas interests since entering Congress. She received $463,503 from pharmaceutical/health interests and $117,201 coming from pharmaceutical manufacturers.

This is not the first time Stabenow’s declarations do not align with her actions.

Michigan Capitol Confidential reported in February that the senator tweeted her opposition to Canada storing spent nuclear fuel near the Great Lakes. She said it was dangerous and made no sense.

But Stabenow voted against a plan to remove spent nuclear fuel from the Great Lakes in 2002. The question then involved an underground storage site in Nevada, where the fuel could have been moved. Her fellow Michigan Democratic Senator, the late Carl Levin, supported the proposal.

Stabenow’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.