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Teddy Himler

Congressional staffers turn lobbyists-- chicagotribune.com - 0 views

  • David Nexon had a big problem. An early version of national health care legislation contained a $40 billion tax aimed squarely at members of the medical device trade association he represents.
  • When Senate Democrats unveiled their bill in mid-November, Nexon's handiwork was evident. The tax on device-makers was still large -- $20 billion -- but only half what it might have been without the efforts of Nexon and his fellow lobbyists.
  • Nexon's team is an illustration of how deeply the health care industry has embedded itself on Capitol Hill, using former aides of lawmakers and ex-lawmakers themselves.
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  • 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.
  • The firm has been paid at least $110,000 so far to push a provision requiring insurers to consider covering Christian Science prayer treatments.
  • Health industry contributions to congressional candidates have more than doubled so far this decade, rising to $127 million in the 2008 election cycle from $56 million in the 2000 election, with disproportionate sums going to the party in power and to members of committees that oversee health care, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
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    A prime example of the "revolving-door" : how Congressman/advisers/staffers get paid in futures.
Teddy Himler

Pete Sessions and Telecom - 0 views

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    "U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) - sponsor of a federal bill that would prohibit cities and towns from delivering high-speed Internet service to their citizens - owns more than $500,000 worth of stock options in telephone giant SBC.

    If passed, the legislation (HR 2726) would be a windfall for SBC and other major telephone and cable companies, allowing them to veto locally supported efforts to provide affordable broadband services. Sessions spent 16 years as an executive at SBC (and its predecessor, Southwestern Bell) before joining Congress. The Texas-based company also ranks as Sessions' second-biggest career patron, pouring more than $75,000 into his campaigns.
    The legislation, titled the "Preserving Innovation in Telecom Act," would "prohibit municipal governments from offering telecommunications, information or cable services" if a corporation or private company offers a "substantially similar service" in the area.Free Press discovered Sessions' stock options on his House financial disclosure form for 2003, the most recent year available (see http://www.opensecrets.org/pfds/pfd2003/N00005681_2003.pdf). Sessions also reports owning considerable stock in other companies that would benefit from HR 2726, including Verizon and Bell South. (2004 disclosures will not be available until June 15.)"
Teddy Himler

Kay Bailey Hutchison, John Ensign, John Thune, Jim DeMint, Sam Brownback, Telecom and N... - 2 views

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    "Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), who often adopts anti-consumer positions on telecommunications policy, has written a so-called "killer amendment" that would prohibit the Federal Communications Commission from enforcing proposed Net Neutrality rules.

    Her amendment, informally proposed Monday as part of a House Interior Appropriations spending measure (H.R. 2996) states:

    Purpose: To prohibit the FCC from expending any funds in fiscal year 2010 to implement any Internet neutrality or network management principles, or to promulgate any rules relating to such principles.


    One possible explanation for the sudden, strong interest by Hutchison and other Republicans to oppose Net Neutrality can be found in their respective bank accounts. Hutchison accepted $67,300 in campaign contributions just from AT&T, her ninth largest contributor.

    Combined, AT&T donated more than $400,000 among the six Republicans opposing Net Neutrality, and one of those senators, John Thune, used to work for a DC lobbying firm that was hired by Comcast.

    The details were compiled by Sam Gustin, a reporter for DailyFinance:

    Over the course of his career, Sen. Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican, has received $220,914 from "telephone utilities," including some $83,130 from AT&T, his second-largest donor, in the form of employee and lobbyist donations to his campaign and political-action committees. Sprint Nextel has given Brownback $35,550 over the course of his career.

    Two of the co-sponsors of the bill, Sen. David Vitter of Lousiana and Sen. John Ensign of Nevada, who have both seen their reputations tarnished after sex scandals, have been on the receiving end of AT&T's largesse. AT&T and predecessor BellSouth have donated $82,050 to Vitter's campaigns and political-action committees. And over the last four years, AT&T has donated some $61,250 to Ensign's campaign and political-action committees. Verizon-related entities donated $46,600 to Ensign during that pe
Nick Pyati

Cold Cash's Long Reach - 2 views

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    Millions of dollars slosh from the pockets of powerful corporate interests into the campaign accounts of lawmakers who then write the laws that determine the rules for how these businesses make money -- or more money. Then millions more flood in through direct lobbying activity that ensures these same lawmakers are reminded, again and again, that the interests financing their campaigns have a favor to ask. . . .
Nick Pyati

Jim DeMint, Telecom, and Net Neutrality - 0 views

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    Sen. Jim DeMint (R - South Carolina) recently cosponsored an amendment with Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison prohibiting the FCC from enforcing new Net Neutrality regulations. Net Neutrality regulations prevent Internet Service Providers from restricting access to certain internet resources and content in an effort to control the market (e.g. the exclusion of a Google Voice application from the iPhone app store because it might compete with services offered by AT&T). Members of the telecom industry therefore oppose Net Neutrality regulations.

    During the 2008 election cycle, DeMint's leadership PAC, MINT PAC, accepted thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the telecom industry, including AT&T ($10,000), Comcast ($8,000), the National Cable & Telecommunications Association ($5,000), and Verizon ($5,000). To date, MINT PAC has received $2,000 from Verizon for the 2010 campaign cycle.

    DeMint sits on the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, which has jurisdiction over communications.
Teddy Himler

Mike Ross and Health Care - 1 views

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    "Ross has fought against a government-run health care plan when a poll shows that 55% of people in his state support it. Ross, the ad notes, has taken $921,670 in campaign contributions from health insurers and the pharmaceutical industry since arriving in Congress. "
Teddy Himler

Joe Wilson, Earmarks for Belgian Arms Maker - 0 views

  • Consider Wilson’s relationship with Fabrique Nationale de Herstal (FNH), a Belgian arms maker. Earlier this year, public records show, Wilson secured a $2.5 million earmark in the defense appropriations bill for the Special Operations Combat Assault Rifle (SCAR), which is made by FNH.

    Since 2004, FNH has spent more than $500,000 lobbying for the SCAR, employing the services of a firm called the American Business Development Group to seek funding for the assault rifle. The firm has headquarters in Washington and several state offices, including one in South Carolina.

    Since 2003, William Skipper, the president of American Business Development Group, has donated $8,800 to Wilson’s campaign. And Skipper also gave the only individual contribution this year to the Carolina Majority PAC, which is Wilson’s personal Political Action Committee.

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    "Consider Wilson's relationship with Fabrique Nationale de Herstal (FNH), a Belgian arms maker. Earlier this year, public records show, Wilson secured a $2.5 million earmark in the defense appropriations bill for the Special Operations Combat Assault Rifle (SCAR), which is made by FNH.

    Since 2004, FNH has spent more than $500,000 lobbying for the SCAR, employing the services of a firm called the American Business Development Group to seek funding for the assault rifle. The firm has headquarters in Washington and several state offices, including one in South Carolina.

    Since 2003, William Skipper, the president of American Business Development Group, has donated $8,800 to Wilson's campaign. And Skipper also gave the only individual contribution this year to the Carolina Majority PAC, which is Wilson's personal Political Action Committee."
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