New Investigation Reveals Political Contributions From Health Care Sector Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Thursday, 01 October 2009 11:21
Many lobbyists of companies involved in the health care sector have made campaign contributions to some members of Congress, according to the Sunlight Foundation and the Center for Responsive Politics. The organizations say that these contributions have never been disclosed before.

Many lobbyists made contributions to the campaign chest of Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, while Mitch McConnell, John McCain, and Arlen Specter also were top recipients of campaign contributions from health care industry lobbyists.

Clusters of campaign contributions from lobbyists and their clients clearly illustrate the intensity with which health-related organizations are attempting to influence Capitol Hill. Ultimately, dozens of hired health care lobbyists and their clients have in recent years created a notable -- and until now, largely unseen -- web of campaign contributions benefiting members of Congress.

The magnitude of the combined giving was a surprise even to the researchers. “We expected to find some correlation between major donors and the lobbyists who work for them,” said lead researcher Larry Makinson. “But when we saw a dozen, two dozen, even three dozen lobbyists for a single company giving to the same members as their clients, we were frankly stunned.”

In all, 11 major health and insurance firms had their contributions to Baucus boosted through extra donations from 10 or more of their outside lobbyists. (See chart with all contributing companies here and full list here.) The full story appears at OpenSecrets.Org.

Meanwhile, there are reports that a "compromise health care plan" may attract support from senators. Delaware Senator Tom Carper is pushing a "third way" compromise on the controversial issue of whether to create a new government-run health insurance plan, known as the "public option." Under Carper's plan, states would be allowed to create their own government plans or non-profit insurance cooperatives to compete with private insurance companies. The details are being reported by Politico.Com.

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