Hunter Bates, a longtime aide to Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), donated $3,000 to McConnell’s campaign in December while he was on contract with pharmaceutical giant Amgen to lobby on “fiscal cliff issues,” according to recently released FEC reports. McConnell has faced criticism at home and in Washington for his possible role in the $500 million windfall for Amgen that was included in the final fiscal cliff legislation.
The Hill reported on Tuesday that Bates’ contract with Amgen was specifically to, “monitor budget discussions surrounding sequestration and fiscal cliff issues and their potential impact on healthcare.”
On December 24th, one week after Amgen’s PAC hosted a fundraiser for McConnell, Bates donated $3,000 to McConnell, bringing his total donations for the cycle to $5,000.
Another Amgen lobbyist, Alex Cohen, donated $500 to McConnell in October. Amgen’s PAC has already given $10,000 to McConnell’s campaign for his 2014 re-election and $10,000 to his leadership PAC in the 2012 cycle, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. In December, Amgen's PAC donated $5,000 to the Kentucky Republican Party.
McConnell’s office has denied involvement in the Amgen deal, but this donation and Bates’ specific duties for Amgen will likely keep the discussion going.