- Marino wrote the pro-drug industry law that ultimately passed. He spent years pushing versions of it through Congress. He argued that it cracks down on an overly aggressive DEA and protects drug companies from any unfair or misguided use of federal power. His critics, which included prominent DEA officials, said it would gut their ability to stop potentially dangerous opioid shipments from reaching the streets.
- Marino has clear ties to the drug industry. He received nearly $100,000 in campaign contributions from political action committees supporting the industry. And an email from a Justice Department official says that the Marino bill was written by a former top DEA lawyer. (The revolving door is busy between government regulators and the drug industry.) That former DEA lawyer testified in Congress in favor of the legislation that officials believe he wrote.
- Marino asked for (and got) an investigation of a DEA investigator standing in his way. In 2014, Marino staff members met with DEA investigator Joseph T. Rannazzisi to understand why he was so adamantly opposed to their bill. In that meeting, they say Rannazzisi accused them of “trying to support criminals.” A month later, Marino and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) asked a government watchdog to investigate Rannazzisi's rhetoric about them, accusing him in turn of trying to “intimidate” Congress. Rannazzisi denies their accusations and says the investigation is why he retired after 30 years in drug enforcement. “It destroyed me,” the told The Post.
- He didn't cooperate with the reporters working on the investigation. As The Post and the “60 Minutes” team were trying to report this, they went to Capitol Hill to try to talk to Marino, the bill's sponsor. Marino's staff called Capitol Police as the reporters tried to interview him at his office. This is remarkable, given that reporters routinely swarm lawmakers in Congress.
October 17, 2017 at 10:26 AM EDT