A One-Two Punch of Contribution Clusters

An article published in the UK Guardian provides an overview of the lobbying effort conducted by insurance companies, pharmaceutical firms and hospitals dedicated to ensuring that healthcare reform proposals don't threaten their profits. All told, these industry and interest groups have spent $380 million trying to influence healthcare legislation through lobbying, advertising and in direct political contributions to members of Congress.

The Sunlight Foundation and the Center for Responsive Politics have teamed up on a collaborative investigative project that has uncovered never-before-seen webs of campaign contributions from outside lobbyists and their clients, who are all important players in the health care reform, to key members of Congress.

Their investigation identified outside lobbyists who donated to the same members of Congress as their clients. Their findings strongly suggest that special interest giving is enhanced by the K Street contributors they hire. Call it a one-two punch aimed at TKOing a public option.

Senator Max Baucus, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and the author of one of the  health care reform bills now being debated in the Senate, was the biggest beneficiaries of this one-two punch from the lobbyists and their clients. From January 2007 through June 2009, Senator Baucus collected contributions from 37 outside lobbyists representing PhRMA, the pharmaceutical industry's chief trade association, and 36 lobbyists who listed drug maker Amgen Inc. as their client. Overall Senator Baucus has received $1.5 million from the health sector towards his re-election coffers.

In all, 11 major health and insurance firms had their contributions to Senator Baucus boosted through extra donations from 10 or more of their outside lobbyists. You can see all these curious clusters of cash at Open Secrets.

Beyond the noxious effect of all that cash, the health industry has permeated the process in other ways. At Senator Baucus's side, helping to draft the wording of the Baucuscare, was Liz Fowler, a Senate committee counsel whose previous position was  as Vice President of Public Policy and External Affairs of the country's largest health insurer in terms of membership, WellPoint. Ms. Fowler worked at WellPoint from May 2006 through February 2008, according to the company. She previously worked for Senator Baucus from 2001 to 2005. Something about a revolving door comes to mind.

Tags: lobbying, Money and Politics, Senator Max Baucus, US Health Care Reform, US Politics (all tags)

Comments

4 Comments

Re: A One-Two Punch of Contribution Clusters

All of which begs the question: why is the President not discussing this legalized bribery as a part  of the moral case for health care reform?

by bruh3 2009-10-01 09:29PM | 0 recs
Re: BTQ abuse


(offered as friendly advice)

To beg the question does not mean "to raise the question." (e.g. "It begs the question, why is he so dumb?") This is a common error of usage made by those who mistake the word "question" in the phrase to refer to a literal question. Sadly, the error has grown more and more common with time, such that even journalists, advertisers, and major mass media entities have fallen prey to "BTQ Abuse."

"Begging the question" is a form of logical fallacy in which a statement or claim is assumed to be true without evidence other than the statement or claim itself. When one begs the question, the initial assumption of a statement is treated as already proven without any logic to show why the statement is true in the first place.

A simple example would be "I think he is unattractive because he is ugly." The adjective "ugly" does not explain why the subject is "unattractive" -- they virtually amount to the same subjective meaning, and the proof is merely a restatement of the premise. The sentence has begged the question.

Next time, try to get it right.

http://begthequestion.info/

by QTG 2009-10-02 04:30AM | 0 recs
Re: A One-Two Punch of Contribution Clusters

Way to lay it out Charles. No doubt Bruh, we beg to have a few more real progressives in leadership.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-10-02 02:38AM | 0 recs
Re: A One-Two Punch of Contribution Clusters

No wonder the public option's such a struggle... http://www.newsy.com/videos/not_much_of_ a_healthy_option

by akorozco 2009-10-02 06:11AM | 0 recs

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