Paul Barton checks in from Washington with another follow-the-dots report on U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln's personal ties to, and financial support by, the health industry lobby.
She need not worry, I guess, since U.S. Rep. Mike Ross has repeatedly assured us that Arkies are on the side of the insurance companies in the health debate.
BY PAUL BARTON
The Sunlight Foundation, a Washington political research organization devoted to exposing behind-the-scenes connections that influence policy, shines a light this month on the relationship between Sen. Blanche Lincoln and two prominent health care lobbyists.
In particular, an article on its Web site – sunlightfoundation.com – focused on the Democratic senator’s relationship with Blue Cross Blue Shield, which controls 75 percent of the market in
“Blue Cross Blue Shield does not need to only rely on campaign contributions to reach Sen. Lincoln, as they retain
The article further notes that Barnett herself has described her “primary responsibility” as representing Blue Cross Blue Shield and its 39 member plans before the Senate Finance Committee, Senate Democratic Leadership, and other key Senate committees and offices.
Barnett also represents other health industry organizations including UnitedHealth Group,
Still another former
The Sunlight Foundation, which also tracks lobbyists’ fund-raising on behalf of members of Congress, notes that Lincoln has benefitted “from countless fundraisers thrown by lobbyists,” including a June 24 get-together in Washington “hosted by health care lobbyists Nick Giordano (formerly of Sen. Max Baucus’ staff), Dick Meltzer (since moved on to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s staff), LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, Holly Bode, Francis Grab, Dave Koshgarian and Jeff Petrich. Contributions from this fundraiser will not be publicly available until the third quarter finance reports are filed.”
Lincoln, who the organization describes as having a “constantly shifting position” on the need for a public health care option, had received $29,500 in campaign contributions from Blue Cross Blue Shield through June 30, the Sunlight Foundation said. Overall,
In response to the foundation’s story,