Making Bank

Novartis Paid Cohen’s Firm Four Times as Much as It Paid Its Lobbyists

Swiss pharmaceuticals company Novartis paid a $100,000 monthly fee to a company set up by President Trump’s personal attorney to help it better understand “U.S. health-care policy matters” in the Trump era—almost four times more than it paid any actual outside lobbyist. Novartis confirmed Wednesday it paid a total of $1.2 million to Michael Cohen and that special counsel Robert Mueller has been investigating the payments. A new review of the Swiss drug maker’s 2017 and 2018 filings showed that even the company’s most lucrative lobbying contract didn’t come anywhere close to the $100,000 per month for Cohen’s services. After one meeting between Cohen and Novartis, executives concluded he “would be unable to provide the services that Novartis had anticipated,” according to the company, and decided “not to engage further.” However, the contract could not be terminated so Cohen was paid in full for the year, the company said.