WATCHDOG GROUP RELEASES REPORT HIGHLIGHTING SEN. NELSON’S TIES TO HEALTH AND INSURANCE INDUSTRIES

Report released following Nelson’s controversial
statements that he will oppose a public insurance option

Nelson has taken $2 million in contributions from health and insurance industries

Washington, D.C. – Sen. Ben Nelson’s (D-Neb.) ties to the health and insurance industries raises serious questions for Nebraska residents about their Senator’s views on health care reform, according to a new report issued today by the nonpartisan campaign finance watchdog group Public Campaign Action Fund.

The report shows that Sen. Nelson, over his three Senate campaigns, ranks fourth in the Senate in lifetime contributions from insurance interests, only trailing three Senators who have run for President. Nelson has received nearly $1.2 million in campaign contributions from these insurance interests alone, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

“Sen. Nelson’s statement last week that he will oppose a public health plan raises serious questions regarding who he represents in Washington – insurance companies and their profits, or Nebraskans who want reform of our wasteful and inefficient health care system,” commented David Donnelly, Public Campaign Action Fund’s national campaigns director.

“Congress has an image and trust problem that is hard to shake when lawmakers like Sen. Nelson oppose comprehensive health reform while raising money from insurance and health care interests,” Donnelly said. “To counter that, Sen. Nelson should add his name as a cosponsor of the Fair Elections Now Act. In doing so, he would ensure that he truly believes that the voices of all Nebraskans, not just the special interests, should be front and center when discussing health care.”

The report details a revolving door between Nelson’s staff and health lobbying interests. Three former members of his staff now work for lobbying firms and a former health care lobbyist works on Nelson’s staff.

The report is at http://www.campaignmoney.org/healthcare/nelson.

The Fair Elections Now Act was introduced by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) on March 31, 2009. It would establish a system of small dollar contributions and public financing for congressional campaigns freeing candidates from taking special interest dollars and the expectations that often accompany them.

Public Campaign Action Fund is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to improving America’s campaign finance laws and holding politicians accountable for the favorable treatment they give to political donors.

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