Editorial: AG Hunter does the right thing

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter is refusing all political donations from prescription drug manufacturers and distributors. That is a good decision, even though it could cost Hunter tens of thousands of dollars in donations.

“Given what we’re dealing with on the opioid oversupply issue, I felt that it was important to establish complete independence and separation from any drug manufacturer or distributor as a part of my campaign fundraising,” Hunter said in a public statement.

Hunter, an Edmond Republican, is serious about battling the growing opioid epidemic. Hunter was appointed attorney general in February after former Attorney General Scott Pruitt was confirmed as head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Hunter’s office is suing a number of pharmaceutical companies — accusing them of fraud in their marketing claims.  Hunter has urged U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to go after opioid manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. There may be some political motivation in Hunter’s decision (he is seeking a full term as attorney general in 2018). And he has almost $400,000 in his campaign coffers. He has returned some PAC money that has ties to the drug industry. But who cares if a politician benefits from doing what is right? There are plenty of examples in state and local government of politicians making decisions for the wrong reasons.

The Pfizer PAC has given more than $15,000 in the last two years to Oklahoma state legislative races, records show. State Sen. Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, also returned a Pfizer PAC donation, sending $1,000 back in January.

Let’s hope refusing drug company donations becomes a trend with state politicians.