CHICAGO TRIBUNE AND CENTER FOR RESPONSIVE POLITICS EXPOSES HOW ENTRENCHED LOBBYISTS INFLUENCED HEALTH CARE REFORM
Posted by politicalpartypooper on December 21, 2009
An article that appeared in the Chicago Tribune by Andrew Zajac yesterday illustrates why Lobbying Reform is so necessary. Entitled How Health Lobbyists Influenced Reform Bill, the article highlighted many of the reasons why Americans believe their government no longer listens to them. Amongst some of the eye-popping statistics were these:
The lineup of insiders working for clients with health care interests includes at least 14 former aides to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and at least 13 former aides to MontanaSen. Max Baucus, the chairman of the Finance Committee and a key overseer of the health care overhaul.
At least 166 former aides from the nine congressional leadership offices and five committees involved in shaping health overhaul legislation — along with at least 13 former lawmakers — registered to represent at least 338 health care clients since the beginning of last year, according to the analysis.
Their health care clients spent $635 million on lobbying over the past two years, the study shows.
How can normal people compete with lobbying firms that dish out hundreds of millions of dollars to influence legislation that impacts all Americans? Why should Americans believe that their elected officials are representing them, when all evidence points to the contrary? Even more importantly, why are our elected officials not doing anything about this? Why is legislation that has been influenced by millions of dollars the norm?
Earlier this year, the Christian Science Church hired a former Kennedy staffer, Carolyn Osolinik, and three of her colleagues at the Mayer Brown law firm, all veterans of Capitol Hill. The firm has been paid at least $110,000 so far to push a provision requiring insurers to consider covering Christian Science prayer treatments.
Phil Davis, a senior official of the church, said the church wanted access to decision makers. “The noise level goes sky high. It’s hard to get in to talk to people,” he said.
Now we have churches hiring lobbyists so that prayer treatments can be included in a bill? What’s next? Will Vegas lobby Congress to include Federal dollars for oddsmakers to predict the final vote? Maybe that’s a stretch; then again…maybe not.
Your Senator and Congressperson is being influenced by big money. What this article shows is that not only does legislation bear the markings of bribery and cronyism, but that the revolving door between Congress and lobbying has been one of our nation’s most effective jobs program.
Kudos to the Chicago Tribune for including this link showing who the biggest offenders were.