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Abbott Labs Cuts Ties With GOP Lobbyist Matt Schlapp

Abbott Labs came under criticism for using Cove Strategies and Schlapp as a lobbyist despite Abbott's professed commitment to social justice.
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Abbott Labs  (ABT) - Get Abbott Laboratories Report announced that it is cutting ties with Matt Schlapp, a lobbyist with ties to the Trump administration, following public pressure to disavow him over controversial political comments. Schlapp's wife Mercedes Schlapp is a senior advisor for the Trump-Pence campaign.

Abbott Labs shares have been stagnant after the accuracy of their testing was questioned. Abbott Labs were investigated by the FDA for potentially inaccurate Covid-19 testing and were then downgraded to sell by Goldman Sachs.

The medical device maker told Crain's Chicago Business that it no longer works with Cove Strategies, the boutique government and public relations firm that Schlapp founded in 2009. 

Abbott had been paying Schlapp $200,000 annually, according to Crain's Chicago Business.

Schlapp has openly criticized corporations that support the Black Lives Matter movement and has described the organization as "hostile to families, capitalism, cops, unborn life and gender" on Twitter. 

Schlapp is very active on Twitter, with most of his tweets being political commentary. 

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On Monday, Verizon said that it was also cutting ties with Schlapp due to his comments on Black Lives Matter. 

Company's like Verizon  (VZ) - Get Verizon Communications Inc. Report who have come out with states of support for the Black Lives Matter movement have been criticized in recent days for paying Schlapp despite views that seem antithetical to their public messages. 

Verizon paid Cove Strategies $40,000 in the first quarter to lobby Congress, according to Popular Information, which has been reporting on the story for weeks. Cove promises access "to Republican and conservative officeholders. 

According to Public Info, Verizon has paid Schlapp and Cove Strategies $800,000 since it first registered as a Verizon lobbyist in April 2013. 

Cove Strategies was hired by 12 clients in 2019 for a total of $1.7 million, according to the lobbying watchdog group 

Companies that have come out with pro-Black Lives Matter social media campaigns that were represented by Cove in 2019 include Comcast  (CMCSA) - Get Comcast Corporation Class A Common Stock Report, which paid $120,000 last year and Walmart  (WMT) - Get Walmart Inc. Report, who paid Cove $210,000.

Abbott shares were down 3.7% Wednesday.