When he was running for office, President Biden's campaign vowed to hold companies accountable for their roles in the opioid crises, but now one of his Justice Department nominees is linked to a firm whose product was reportedly sold to Mexican drug cartels.
According to an August 2020 Bloomberg report, American company Avantor sold acetic anhydride to cartels that used it to make high-grade "china white" heroin and methamphetamine. Biden's pick for associate attorney general, Vanita Gupta, owns between $11 million and $55 million in the company's stock, according to her financial disclosure form as reported by ABC News.
Biden's campaign website stated that if elected, Biden would "[d]irect the U.S. Justice Department to make actions that spurred this crisis a top investigative and, where appropriate, civil and criminal enforcement priority."
Since Bloomberg's report came out, Avantor reportedly stopped selling acetic anhydride in Mexico, as the country's authorities announced a criminal investigation. Fox News asked the Justice Department if they are investigating Avantor, but they did not immediately respond.
Gupta's father, Raj Gupta, is the chairman of the board of Avantor. Vanita Gupta has agreed not to participate in any matters having to do with companies in which her family has financial interests or in which her father holds leadership positions.
Gupta's nomination saw opposition from a number of Republicans for reasons completely separate from her business ties. At her confirmation hearing, Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, all brought up inflammatory remarks she had made in the past about Republicans.
"I apologize for the kind of coarse language I have used in the past," she said.