The Ranking Member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), seeks answers from Vanita Gupta, President Joe Biden’s nominee for associate attorney general, about her stake in a family-owned business that has “sold acetic anhydride to Mexican cartels, which is used to make high-grade ‘china white’ heroin and methamphetamine.”
Breitbart News reported on Thursday about Vanita Gupta’s $11 to $55 million asset holding in Avantor, which is chaired by her father, Raj Gupta, who, according to Bloomberg, has “stopped all Mexican and Latin American sales of acetic anhydride, the only essential heroin chemical,” just as Mexican authorities launched an investigation into the matter.
“Biden’s campaign vowed to hold companies accountable for their roles in the opioid crises, but now one of his Justice Department nominees is linked to a firm whose product was reportedly sold to Mexican drug cartels.”https://t.co/XA1IZYzG06
— Tommy Pigott (@TCPigott) March 10, 2021
Grassley has submitted questions for the record to Gupta in regards to her stake in the enterprise, “especially in light of the diversion of its products in Mexico and her own previous statements on decriminalization of possession for all drugs,” Grassley’s aide, Taylor Foy, wrote.
Grassley suspects Gupta to have a potential conflict of interest considering her policy positions on decriminalizing heroin and methamphetamine possession.
The Iowa senator questioned Gupta:
Do you agree, then, that there is a potential undisclosed conflict of interest in your prior public advocacy for the decriminalization of heroin and methamphetamine possession because of the likely profit such a policy would allow a precursor-manufacturer like Avantor — whose stock you hold — to capture?
Vanita Gupta has previously said she would disengage from the family’s business.
In response to the ballooning concerns, Avantor issued a statement expressing discontinuation of “all sales of the product in Mexico and throughout Latin America… out of an abundance of caution, due to the potential for misuse of acetic anhydride outside of the regulated supply chain.”
It is worth noting Joe Biden’s campaign platform stated he would “hold accountable big Pharma companies, executives, and others responsible for their role in triggering the opioid crisis, Also indicating that he intends to “[d]irect the U.S. Justice Department to take actions that spurred this crisis a top investigative and, where appropriate, civil and criminal enforcement priority.”