Manchin Says He Has 'No Idea' Who Top Donors Are Despite Mylan Contributions, Bloomberg Fundraiser

July 11, 2017

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) claimed Tuesday that he does not know who his top campaign donors are despite his daughter being the CEO of the pharmaceutical company Mylan, his second biggest donor.

"I have no idea who gives me money ... quid pro quo, that's never been me," Manchin said in an interview with The Young Turks' Cenk Uygur.

Uygur showed Manchin a graphic of his top campaign contributions from the Center for Responsive Politics. The Young Turks host then asked Manchin if he knows who his top donor are.

"I do not. You are showing me something I've never seen," Manchin responded. "I know that is hard for anyone to believe."

"So when the donations come in your staff doesn't tell you about it?" Uygur asked.

"I never ask and they never tell me," Manchin said. He added that his staff will tell him the amounts if they have a fundraiser but never the specific donors or the sums of money attached to them.

Manchin's second biggest donor is Mylan, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The CEO of Mylan is Heather Bresch, Manchin's daughter. Manchin and his political action committee have received nearly $400,000 from the pharmaceutical company in campaign contribution since 2010.

Manchin himself has taken at least $127,000 from Mylan, which came under scrutiny last year after Bresch spiked the price of the life-saving EpiPens it produces by 400 percent.

Former New York Mayor and multi-billionaire Michael Bloomberg is among those who have held fundraisers for Manchin. Bloomberg hosted a 2013 reception for Manchin at his home in New York City, where tickets started at $1,000 a person. The former mayor, a vocal gun control activist, praised Manchin for co-sponsoring a measure to expand background checks.

At the time, Manchin defended the Bloomberg fundraiser as a "talkline."

"I did open that dialogue with him," Manchin told West Virginia's MetroNews. "I didn't know him that well and I got a chance to meet him and talk with him that night."

Manchin's interview with The Young Turks, a progressive news outlet, is part of an effort by the senator to reinforce his support on the left ahead of a tough 2018 reelection bid.