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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The National Sheriff's Association has become a loud critic of prescription drug importation in recent years, but there's a catch: Its anti-importation campaign is funded by a nonprofit that's backed by PhRMA, Bloomberg reports.

Between the lines: The association has struggled financially in recent years, and turned to seeking grants from corporations and nonprofits. This year, the Partnership for Safe Medicines — a PhRMA-backed nonprofit — is the sheriffs' biggest grant-provider.

  • An internal document from April obtained by Bloomberg shows that the partnership gave $908,926 to the association in the previous six months, which was almost half of the group's total grant funding.
  • The money more than covered an anti-importation ad campaign over the summer. “NSA has received a grant from the Partnership for Safe Medicines for this NSA initiative that covers ALL the ad buys and that earns NSA $125,000 over about the next 3 months,” a leader of the sheriffs’ group wrote in an email to a member.

"The commercials are just one part of a two-year campaign that used secret payments, a widely criticized consultant’s report and even celebrity drug cops to concoct public-safety arguments against drug importation and then use them to foster the appearance of widespread concern among law-enforcement groups," Bloomberg's Ben Elgin writes.

Go deeper: PhRMA spread money far and wide in Trump's first year

Go deeper

Obama stumps for McAuliffe, urges Virginians not "to go back to the chaos"

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama framed a Nov. 2 gubernatorial race as a bellwether for the Democratic Party and the country, telling a crowd at a campaign event for Terry McAuliffe on Saturday that "I believe you, right here in Virginia, are going to show the rest of the country and the world that we're not going to indulge in our worst instincts."

Why it matters: With just over a week to go before Election Day in the Commonwealth, McAuliffe is bringing out the big guns. The 44th president appeared on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University to urge supporters to get to the polls.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Axios AM Deep Dive: America’s murder surge

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Homicides rose at the fastest rate in at least six decades last year. This Axios AM Deep Dive, led by Future correspondent Bryan Walsh, looks at the state of gun crime.

8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate Democrats target billionaires

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

After failing to get a deal on other planned tax increases, key Senate Democrats are pivoting to a billionaires' income tax to pay for President Biden's social spending.

The big picture: No advanced economy has attempted anything similar on such a scale.