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Hanabusa aide connected to PhRMA flap quits

Christopher Raymond, the deputy chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa who offered to act as a go-between between Hanabusa’s U.S. Senate campaign and the drug industry, has resigned.

“I have not violated any campaign finance laws, and it is unfortunate what a distraction this misunderstanding has become,” Raymond said in a statement. “Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa is the most qualified person to serve as Hawaii’s next U.S. senator and I have been honored and privileged to work for her.

“This is a once-in-a-generation Senate race and, as such, the conversation should be focused on Colleen’s proven track record and clearly demonstrated leadership.  In an effort to bring the conversation back to what’s important — Colleen’s vast experience and myriad accomplishments — I am resigning my position as deputy chief of staff effective immediately.  I wish her, the congressional staff, and the people of Hawaii the very best.”

Hanabusa, in a statement, thanked Raymond for his service. “Chris Raymond worked hard to help me represent the people of Hawaii’s First Congressional District and his efforts helped build a better future for my constituents,” she said. “I want to thank Chris for his service and I wish him well in all of his future endeavors.”

Raymond sent an email to Hanabusa’s advisers in June stating that the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America intended to sponsor an independent expenditure on Hanabusa’s behalf. Federal law bars political campaigns and interest groups from coordinating independent political spending.

The Hanabusa campaign said Raymond was inflating his influence and that the campaign was not coordinating with drug industry advocates. A PhRMA spokesman also told the Washington Post that no independent expenditure was planned, but that there were discussions about a drug industry fundraiser for the congresswoman.

A Kauai attorney has filed a complaint against the Hanabusa campaign with the Federal Election Commission.

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