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Incoming Attorney General Ashley Moody announces top lobbyist to inaugural committee

Republican candidate for Florida Attorney General, Ashley Moody, speaks to news crews after voting in the Aug. 28 primary at the Florida Aquarium in Tampa. [ BRONTE WITTPENN | Times]

Incoming Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody announced her inaugural committee today, and among the names is a lobbyist whose recent clients include a company being sued by the current attorney general.

Michael Corcoran is a top lobbyist in Tallahassee whose recent clients include Verizon, Tampa Electric, Coca-Cola — and opioid drug maker Purdue Pharma.

Purdue, the maker of OxyContin, is at the heart of arguably the biggest lawsuit the Attorney General's office is handling right now, a potentially multi-billion dollar case against drug makers and distributors that Attorney General Pam Bondi blames for causing and fomenting the opioid crisis.

"It's time the defendants pay for the pain and the destruction that they have caused," Bondi said during a press conference announcing the lawsuit this year.

Purdue has denied any wrongdoing.

Corcoran is the brother of just-departed House Speaker Richard Corcoran, who is helping with Governor-elect Ron DeSantis' transition team.

Corcoran lobbied on behalf of Purdue in the Legislature this year. The company was in favor of Gov. Rick Scott's proposal to tighten opioid prescriptions.

It's unclear if Michael Corcoran is still representing them, though. He didn't return a request for comment.

Moody's spokeswoman, Christina Johnson, said that the inaugural team "has no relation to the function and operation of the Attorney General’s Office," and that "Mike and Jesse Corcoran have had a more than decade long friendship with Ashley Moody."

She noted that Moody, a former federal prosecutor, has been a supporter of the opioid lawsuit and is married to a Drug Enforcement Agency agent.

"From the beginning of her campaign, the Attorney General-Elect has been passionately outspoken about the opioid epidemic, its effects, solving this crisis, and holding those responsible accountable," Johnson said.

Corcoran also served as statewide finance chair for the Tampa Republican's campaign.

"He has earned a reputation as one of Florida’s most prodigious fundraisers for Florida House, Senate, Congressional and locally elected candidates and is widely considered to be one of Florida’s leading political experts," Moody's campaign said in a press release Tuesday.

The inaugural committee is responsible for raising money for and organizing the Jan. 8 inauguration ceremony.

Corcoran is one of three co-chairs on Moody's committee. The others are state Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, and state Rep. Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor. The executive director for the committee is Samantha Blair, the finance director for Moody's campaign.