Lawmakers Get One-Two Punch of Money From Health Industry Special Interests

Published by Michael Beckel

A new collaborative investigation by the Sunlight Foundation and the Center for Responsive Politics has found that many of the major players in the health insurance reform debate have hit members of Congress with a one-two punch of campaign contributions from at least 10 of their hired, outside lobbyists on top of donations from their employees or political action committees.

Since January 2007, more than 500 individual lobbyists who fit these criteria donated roughly $2.8 million to 61 members of Congress who also received about $1.9 million from the companies’ PACs or employees. These lobbyists represented 25 major health care and health insurance organizations.

Here is a table of the top Senate recipients of these contributions. (Read more about the methodology here. )

Recipient From Clients From Lobbyists – Overall – Total

John McCain (R-Ariz.) $427,530 – $473,400 – $900,930
Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) $276,050 – $237,722 – $513,772
Max Baucus (D-Mont.) $252,750 – $200,899 – $453,649
Arlen Specter (D-Penn.) $116,750 – $108,778 – $225,528
Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) $56,950 – $130,808 – $187,758
Mark Udall (D-Colo.) $76,025 – $79,150 – $155,175
Mark Warner (D-Va.) $46,650 – $84,450 – $131,100
Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) $47,200 – $83,420 – $130,620
Mary Landrieu (D-La.) $35,800 – $67,000 – $102,800
Patty Murray (D-Wa.) $32,800 – $59,500 – $92,300
Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) $22,500 – $55,950 – $78,450
Susan Collins (R-Maine) $28,300 – $40,916 – $69,216

Among the 61 recipients of these joint contributions are 11 senators who sit on the 23-member Senate Finance Committee, which is chaired by Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.). Baucus ranked as the third highest recipients of such contributions, accepting about $201,000 from 109 lobbyists representing 11 health-related organizations, plus an additional $252,750 from the lobbying clients’ employees or PACs. (The Sunlight Foundation illustrates these contributions, pictured in the image above, in graphic form here.)

Four other Democratic senators on the Finance committee also received such contributions: Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Deborah Stabenow (D-Mich.). These lawmakers combined received roughly one-sixth of Baucus’ haul — averaging about $19,800 in contributions per person from these clients and their external lobbyists during the two-and-a-half year period studied.

On the other side of the aisle, 60 percent of the Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee were found to have accepted campaign contributions from these major health-related organizations and their outside lobbyists.

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) received the most in such contributions, with $130,620 from these lobbyists and their clients, followed by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who received $78,450. Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) round out the list of GOP recipients.

These Republican lawmakers received an average of $67,700 per person from these clients and their external lobbyists during the two-and-a-half year period studied.

Politicians With Tough Re-Election Contests Also Made the List


Comments are closed.