FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 15, 2009
Washington, D.C. – A campaign finance watchdog’s analysis of insurance and HMO political contributions and lobbying expenses found the industries spent $126,430,438 over the first half of 2009 and $585,725,712 over the past two and a half years to influence public policy and elected officials. The group, Public Campaign Action Fund, found that in the first part of 2009, the industries were spending money at nearly a $700,000 a day clip to influence the political process and that the monthly pace of political spending this year has increased by nearly $400,000 over the average spent per month in the previous two years.
“The insurance and HMO interests are fighting health care reform with hundreds of millions of dollars,” commented David Donnelly, national campaigns director of Public Campaign Action Fund. “Why are so many in Congress willing to listen to an industry that is spending tens of millions every month on politics rather than on lowering their premiums or helping to address the costs of health care? They need the cash to pay for their campaigns. And that’s why we need Congress out of the fundraising game — which can happen if Congress adopts the Fair Elections Now Act.”
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the insurance interests have 875 registered lobbyists representing its concerns in Washington D.C., and HMOs have 920 registered lobbyists. The total figure for 2009, 1,795, is slightly fewer than 2,000 lobbyists the industries employed in 2008. It is possible that late hires during the important fall months will push 2009 figures past the 2008 record.
The research released today is the first of a two-part study on insurance and HMO industry campaign contributions and lobbying expenses compiled by Public Campaign Action Fund. The study was compiled with data available from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics and the Senate lobbying disclosure websites. Tomorrow’s release will focus on the political spending by the top for-profit health insurance and HMOs.
(A Common Cause study earlier this year found that health care and insurance interests were spending a combined $1.4 million per day over the first quarter. This study looked at insurance and HMO spending.)
Public Campaign Action Fund advocates for the Fair Elections Now Act (H.R. 1826, S. 752), or comprehensive public financing of elections, The bill was introduced by House Democratic Caucus Chair John Larson (D-Conn.) and Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and would provide qualified federal candidates the opportunity to run for office with a mixture of small donations and public funding.
The national nonprofit organization is dedicated to advancing comprehensive reform of America’s election laws and works to hold politicians accountable for the favors they do for special interests.