Republican gubernatorial nominee Chris Christie’s campaign today attempted to link the controversy over whether four Democratic legislators improperly influenced the FDA to approve an unsafe device with Governor Corzine’s campaign.
“Governor Jon Corzine must immediately demand accountability from his party's delegation, particularly his own campaign chairman, Congressman Frank Pallone,” said Christie Campaign Manager Bill Stepien. “All of these members of Congress need to disclose the extent of their interactions with and return all contributions from ReGen Biologics, Inc.”
In its own report, the Food and Drug Administration acknowledged that it faced “extreme” pressure to approve a knee repair device from four New Jersey legislators: U.S. Sens. Frank Lautenberg (D-Cliffside Park) and Robert Menendez (D-Hoboken) and U.S. Reps. Frank Pallone (D-Long Branch) and Steve Rothman (D-Fair Lawn). All four had received donations from the device’s manufacturer, Hackensack-based Regen Biologics, within months of contacting the FDA.
The acknowledgement is said to be unprecedented for the FDA.
Stepien said that Corzine, who will see at least some of the legislators at former Vice President Al Gore’s Atlantic City speech tonight at the Democratic State Convention, should “send a clear signal that this kind of activity will not be tolerated and that those involved must address the serious ethical concerns their behavior have raised."