This post was originally published at RepublicReport.org
LaserLock Technologies, a firm that sells anti-counterfeiting products, won a powerful congressional ally on Capitol Hill after recruiting a Kentucky congressman’s wife.
Representative Ed Whitfield, a senior Republican lawmaker from western Kentucky, personally submitted company documents on behalf of LaserLock to the congressional record in support of legislation crucial to the firm’s business. Whitfield’s wife, Constance Harriman, a registered lobbyist, has come under scrutiny from Office of Congressional Ethics investigators for unduly influencing Whitfield and his staff for her client, the Humane Society. But new revelations about her role with LaserLock, a company in which she is an investor and where she serves as a board member, reveal that Representative Whitfield may have used his congressional office to boost the fortunes of his wife’s company.
Whitfield’s effort to assist LaserLock is captured on video. A tape of a subcommittee hearing on the morning of April 25, 2013, shows the congressman intervening to endorse LaserLock-backed legislation to create a national standard for tracking the distribution of pharmaceuticals.
Five months prior to Whitfield’s advocacy on behalf of the firm, in November of 2012, LaserLock appointed Constance Harriman, Whitfield’s wife, to its board of directors.
The April 25 tape shows that as the Energy and Commerce Committee began discussing HR 1919, the Safeguarding America’s Pharmaceuticals Act, Whitfield told colleagues that his interest was sparked by the threat of organized crime.
“Last week, I attended a forum over at Georgetown University,” said Whitfield. “I really was taken aback by the amount of money being made by organized crime and other groups and entering into our supply chain counterfeit prescription drugs.”
Whitfield then moved to submit a “statement from a company called LaserLock.” The statement, from LaserLock Chief Executive Neal Alpert, enthusiastically endorsed a digital tracking system for drug products to combat fraud. LaserLock sells SecureLight+, a labeling product the firm has pitched as a solution for pharmaceutical firms seeking to thwart counterfeiters.