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Lilly donates thousands to political candidates amid abortion debate; where a lot of it went might surprise you

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) As Eli Lilly and Co. condemns Indiana’s near-total ban on abortion, I-Team 8 has discovered the pharmaceutical giant’s political action committee has donated tens of thousands of dollars to lawmakers and other state leaders who supported the law.

The law, which outlaws abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother, passed the House and Senate before being signed late Friday night by Gov. Eric Holcomb.

By Saturday morning, Lilly had issued a statement criticizing state leaders, saying, “Indiana has opted to quickly adopt one of the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in the United States.”

Lilly went on to claim the law could make it harder to hire new workers in Indiana, and that “given this new law, we will be forced to plan for more employment growth outside our home state.”

An I-Team 8 review of publicly available campaign finance records uncovered Lilly’s political action committee has donated to the campaigns of more than a dozen state lawmakers who supported the ban.

I-Team 8 reviewed donations to state office candidates since Jan. 1, 2019.

I-Team 8 found that, in that time, LillyPAC donated $87,500 to state lawmakers who cast votes on the final version of Senate Bill 1 (Special Session).

More than $50,000 of those donations went to 16 state lawmakers, all Republicans, who voted for the abortion ban in the House and Senate.

Included in those donations: $17,000 to House Speaker Todd Huston, a Republican from Fishers, and $15,000 to Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray​, a Republican from Martinsville. They led the House and Senate through the special session debates.

“Voters have an opportunity to vote, and if they’re displeased they’ll have that opportunity both in November and in future years,” Huston said after Friday’s vote. “You come down here and you make the best decisions you believe for public policy.”

LillyPAC also donated $37,000 to 20 state lawmakers who voted against the abortion ban: 15 Democrats and five Republicans.

I-Team 8 also discovered LillyPAC gave $31,000 to the Republican governor’s campaign in the same time frame.

One of the donations, $5,000, was dated June 30, 2022, after the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision overturned the right to an abortion, and after Holcomb and legislative leaders delayed the special session to allow lawmakers to consider an abortion ban.

In a statement to I-Team 8, Lilly said the PAC “contributes to candidates — regardless of party affiliation — who understand the value of a vibrant pharmaceutical ecosystem and support pro-innovation policies to address unmet patient needs.”

“Our candidate selection criteria are reviewed frequently by our employee board of directors to assure it aligns with our company’s mission,” Tarsis Lopez, Lilly’s associate vice president of global communications, wrote. “While it is not uncommon for us to disagree on certain issues with lawmakers, our criteria serve as an important guide to ensure our contributions help us deliver on our promises to patients.”

I-Team 8 also found $10,000 donations to the Indiana Republican State Committee.

The party’s platform, approved in 2018, stated: We believe in the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death, and that the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee that no one can “be deprived of life, liberty or property” deliberately echoes the proclamation made in the Declaration of Independence that “all” are “endowed by their Creator” with the inalienable right to life. Accordingly, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed.

The Lilly criticism of the state’s new abortion ban came just months after Chief Executive Officer Dave Ricks called out state leaders, saying Indiana is not up to the challenge of the new economy.

“Our education attainment in the state is not good,” Ricks told the Economic Club of Indiana in April. “The ability to reskill the workforce, I think, could improve. Health, life and inclusion overall, I think, conditions rank poorly nationally in our state. And also workforce preparedness also related to reskilling is a liability for us.”

Lilly PAC Donations

Jan. 1, 2019 to present

Voting “yes” on abortion ban:

  • Rep. Bradford Barrett: $1,000.
  • Rep. Robert Behning: $1,000.
  • Rep. Bob Cherry: $1,000.
  • Rep. Bob Heaton: $1,000.
  • Rep. Matt Lehman: $1,000.
  • Rep. Mike Speedy: $1,000.
  • Rep. Greg Steuerwald: $1,000.
  • Rep. Jerry Torr: $1,000.
  • Rep. Todd Huston: $17,000.
  • Sen. Rodrick Bray: $15,000.
  • Sen. Justin Busch: $1,000.
  • Sen. Ed Charbonneau: $3,000.
  • Sen. Michael Crider: $2,000.
  • Sen. Travis Holdman: $1,000.
  • Sen. Ryan Mishler: $2,000.
  • Sen. Andy Zay: $1,000.

Voting NO on abortion ban:

  • Rep. Terri Austin: $1,000.
  • Rep. Ed Clere: $500.
  • Rep. Ed DeLaney: $1,000.
  • Rep. Phil GiaQuinta: $6,000.
  • Rep. Carey Hamilton: $1,000.
  • Rep. Blake Johnson: $2,000.
  • Rep. Justin Moed: $2,000.
  • Rep. Greg Porter: $4,000.
  • Rep. Cherrish Pryor: $3,000.
  • Rep. Tom Saunders: $500.
  • Rep. Robin Shackleford: $4,000.
  • Rep. Vanessa Summers: $2,500.
  • Sen. Ron Alting: $1,000.
  • Sen. Vaneta Becker: $1,000.
  • Sen. Jean Breaux: $3,000.
  • Sen. J.D. Ford: $1,000.
  • Sen. Tim Lanane: $1,000.
  • Sen. Eddie Melton: $1,000.
  • Sen. Greg Taylor: $1,000.
  • Sen. Kyle Walker: $500.

Not voting on final version of SB 1:

  • Sen. Mark Messmer: $6,000.