AAN declined several requests for comment.
PhRMA gave nearly $10 million in 2016 to politically active groups, including AAN, that do not have to disclose donors, its most recent filing with the I.R.S. shows. By contrast, PhRMA and its political action committee made only about $1 million in political donations in 2015 and 2016 that were disclosed to regulators and reported by the Center for Responsive Politics.
PhRMA’s 2016 political activities included support for the Republican National Convention. Rather than directly support the Cleveland convention, which several companies pulled out of after it became clear that Mr. Trump was going to be the nominee, PhRMA routed $150,000 through limited liability companies with names like Convention Services 2016 and Friends of the House 2016.
Like 501(c)(4)s, LLCs do not have to disclose their donors. PhRMA’s support was revealed in I.R.S. filings more than a year later. (Donations by PhRMA and other groups to Friends of the House, which financed a luxury lounge for convention dignitaries, were first reported by the Center for Public Integrity last fall.)
PhRMA’s surge in donations to AAN coincides with the arrival of Mr. Ubl, who took over as president and chief executive in 2015 and has longstanding ties to Norm Coleman, a former United States senator from Minnesota who is now the network’s chairman. Mr. Ubl once ran the lobby for manufacturers of knee implants, heart stents and other medical devices, one of which, Medtronic, is based in Minneapolis.
PhRMA’s 2016 dark-money contributions included $150,000 to Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group associated with the billionaires Charles and David Koch. Their group has already signaled it will be active in November’s elections, running attack ads against Senator Jon Tester, a vulnerable Montana Democrat, for not supporting a repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
PhRMA also gave $50,000 to Americans for Tax Reform, run by the conservative anti-tax activist Grover Norquist.