Former Louisiana Rep. Billy Tauzin (R) is the mystery lawmaker referenced in last week’s indictment of Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.).
As then-chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Tauzin penned an Oct. 22, 2002, letter praising the technology of iGate to the company’s president, Vernon Jackson, a spokesman for the ex-lawmaker confirmed Monday morning.
Tauzin is now president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. Jefferson is alleged to have taken nearly a half-million dollars in bribes from Jackson to push the company’s business in West Africa.
According to the 16-count indictment, Jefferson introduced Jackson to a “prominent member” of the Energy and Commerce telecommunications subcommittee around June 2002. The meeting prompted a subsequent letter praising iGate’s technology.
PhRMA spokesman Ken Johnson, who was the Energy and Commerce Committee spokesman at the time, confirmed Monday that Tauzin had spoken with the FBI “on one occasion” about the meeting and letter.
“He’s not a target of the investigation,” Johnson said. “From our perspective at that time, this was pretty much a non-event.”
— Rachel Van Dongen