Politifact rates Bredesen ‘mostly true’ in allegation about Blackburn opioids bill

Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen speaks to the Nashville Rotary on Aug. 20, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen’s claim that Republican rival Marsha Blackburn passed legislation “at the behest of the pharmaceutical industry” to weaken the DEA opioid enforcement has been rated “mostly true” by Politifact.

Bredesen has said he would sign on to legislation to undo the bill co-sponsored by Blackburn in 2016 that was the center of an investigation by 60 Minutes and The Washington Post played a major role in scuttling the nomination of Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) to serve as national drug czar.

Blackburn soon called for addressing “unintended consequences” of the law, but Politifact said she didn’t join efforts to roll back the bill as recommended by the Justice Department. She submitted a bill that increased penalties for drug diversion but left the enforcement changes untouched.

Blackburn submitted a bill at the same time, but while it increased penalties for drug diversion, it left the enforcement changes untouched. It wasn’t until after Bredesen raised the issue in August that Blackburn and fellow Rep. Gus Bilrakis (R-Fla.) submitted a bill to undo the changes .

Blackburn’s own contributions from the drug distribution industry tripled from $6,000 in 2012 to $22,000 just a few years later (a total Politifact calls conservative because it doesn’t include contributions from other groups interested in the legislation like the National Association of Chain Drug Stores). Blackburn has dismissed questions about whether she was influenced by the pharmaceutical industry to pass the law as “absolutely absurd.”

Here’s what Politifact decided:

The record shows that Blackburn was critical of the DEA and was an early leader in reining in DEA powers. It is also a matter of record that the industry spent nearly $1.3 million lobbying for those changes and increased its donations to Blackburn as the legislative process played out.

The only uncertainty concerns what prompted Blackburn’s actions, and the meaning of “behest” has some wiggle room. It can be both a command and a strong suggestion. Blackburn’s office declined to answer our question about her contacts with the industry. Nearly a year after the controversial legislation came to light, Blackburn switched her position.

Because additional information is needed, we rate this claim Mostly True.

25 Responses to Politifact rates Bredesen ‘mostly true’ in allegation about Blackburn opioids bill

  • James White says:

    Deep State Marsha loves that Big-Pharm money. And they love controlling her.

  • Stuart I. Anderson says:

    We see the outrages taking place in the Senate as the Democrats try one desperate tactic after another in order to block a constitutional conservative with impeccable credentials from serving on the Supreme Court. In the meantime back in Tennessee Phil’s Operation Distraction proceeds apace with obvious effectiveness. Bredesen doesn’t mention it in his adds, but you know, HE’S A DEMOCRAT. There is no doubt that he will vote to give control of the Senate to Chuck Schumer and the forces who have promised to do everything in their power to block just about every policy that Trump wants to pursue no matter how “moderate” Bredesen alleges that he will be. That’s what this Senate election is all about anything else is a distraction.

    I have to agree, however, that if enough of the over 60% of the Tennessee electorate who voted for Trump vote against themselves two years later by voting for Bredesen because they don’t understand the policy implications of a Bredesen victory and Phil seems like a soft spoken nice guy, or don’t vote because they can’t believe the polls that tell us this is a dead heat because everyone they know would like Marsha to win and Republicans always win in the end, or because they just don’t care all that much so that Bredesen wins and the Democrats control Congress, then we deserve the government we will get. It’s one of the great things about democracy.

    • James White says:

      Who has “impeccable credentials” ? Not Marsha Blackburn. Check her Poor voting record on my blog, click my name above.

      • Stuart I. Anderson says:

        Are you voting for Phil and Democratic control of the Senate James? If not why not, all you seem to do, as usual, is spend your time finding fault with the Republican candidate. Will the Democrats as they move left in primary after primary bring about the pre-1860 government you dream about? You expend so much effort so foolishly!

        • James White says:

          Well I will not vote for someone that has violated their oath to the constitution. I am not voting for someone that should be removed from congress by a vote in the House. I am not rewarding someone by keeping them in office when the will not support the constitution with every vote, every time.
          I may vote for Bredesen as Grid lock would at least slow down the expansion of government that is practised by both the Republicans and the Democrats.

    • MarLE says:

      Stuart….if you want a blog that only offers positive comments for your candidate, then Create one! So simple. Your always tossing out the fact that you contribute money here and there. If you are tech challenged then hire someone to help you. This is Not Your Blog. If the person(s) whose blog it actually IS wants to block people he can. The TN * does that on their blog. The owners have determined that they want one message and one message only. Create your own blog, This one is open to differing opinions.

      • Stuart I. Anderson says:

        Now I’m becoming concerned about you! I reread my post and nowhere have I complained about this blog. I complain about Phil Bredesen, some Trump voters, even James White, but not this blog.

        Are you confusing me with someone? It’s the kind of thing that seems to be going around, have you read about that university professor in California making the news? You remind me of Gilda Radner’s Emily Litella ranting on and on simply because you’re confused. It’s OK. All you have to say in response is “NEVER MIND” to allay my concern.

        • MarLE says:

          No need for concern. We will all play in the same sandbox until election day. Marsha will win. She was the Party’s handpicked candidate. And Trump supports her wholeheartedly and he won TN overwhelmingly. Bredesen doesn’t stand a chance. And remember it was a CNN poll that last had her behind. And we all know CNN is fake news.

    • MarLE says:

      I am wondering why Erik even has a blog topic or article content. It’s almost like he is inviting a response to THAT topic or to others’ comments about it.

      • Stuart I. Anderson says:

        Indeed! It also gives those who believe that the entire topic is raised and given prominence in order to distract from other topics to call to the attention of the reader what those other topics happen to be and why in the entire scheme of things these other topics are so important.

        • MarLE says:

          Ah….you are coming awfully close to criticizing THIS blog, Stuart. They choose topics just to distract. As I said…use some of that money you keep mentioning to start your own blog.

          • Stuart I. Anderson says:

            Ah, that’s your problem. This blog is bringing us the news. That’s it. I’m not criticizing this blog for bringing us the news.

            The news contains word that Bredesen wants to get into the weeds about a specific piece of legislation out of the thousands of pieces of legislation that Marsha has had to vote on and perhaps he has yet another piece of legislation he wants to talk about after that because he wants to distract from the fact that he is A DEMOCRAT in this Republican state and he would rather not talk about the consequences of the Democrats taking control of the U. S. Senate in a state that voted for Trump with over 60% of the vote. “Good strategy Phil” I say but I don’t intend to let him get away with his Operation Distraction. That’s it! You may not like it because you would rather join James and Bredesen and spend your time criticizing Marsha. OK. All of this has nothing whatsoever to do with this blog. Not even close!

  • MarLE says:

    given prominence…. That is what This Blog has done.
    Taken a topic, chosen to profile it thus giving it prominence. Going to maintain that you’re not critical?

    • Stuart I. Anderson says:

      Somehow you are confusing the messenger with the message, and I don’t know how you manage to do that. It is Phil Bredesen and his supporters that are making a big deal out of this “opioids bill” as part of Operation Distraction not this blog. There are two major candidates and it is only responsible in covering the election to “give prominence” to whatever the major candidates want to make a prominent feature of the campaign. As a Marsha supporter I am critical of Phil Bredesen in attempting to distract the voters from the major issue of this campaign – control of the Senate. That has nothing to do with this blog or any other source of news.

      • MarLE says:

        But this blog gave it prominence…..and you spoke critically of giving it prominence. You make this too easy, Stuart.

        • Stuart I. Anderson says:

          PHIL GAVE IT PROMINENCE. GOOD STRATEGY PHIL! The only criticism I have is for Republicans/Trump voters who are willing to behave so as to give control of the Senate to the Democrats for any reason let alone the opioids bill.

  • William Upton says:

    If I could just put my 2 cents in, I’m voting for Marsha. I voted for Trump and I’m not going to vote against myself by voting for a democrat. I will vote for anyone who will support Trump and his agenda. That is my #1 consideration. Is Marsha my ideal candidate? Hell no! But considering the alternative I’ll take Marsha.

    • Silence Dogood says:

      Me, too. MarLE is right. Marsha is not a Democrat. End of story. I have grand babies that need help so I will vote for Marsha and get back to helping the grand babies. MAGA!

  • James White says:

    One good thing about Marsha’s Senate race, At least she is missing a lot of votes in the House. Good Girl !

  • Eddie White says:

    Reviewing Blackburn ‘s voting record, I think she has voted conservative most of the time. I think most conservatives are pleased with her voting record. It is the liberals and moderates that dislike her and may ultimately lead to Bredesen ‘s victory. I guess you have something in common with those folks,

    • James White says:

      Nope, nothing in common with those folks. I compare her vote on the bills with the constitution. That is the only way to see if she if voting for More Government, More Power, More Cost, and Less Liberty.

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