News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Opinion

November 21, 2010

STEPHANIE SALTER: A story of just one corporate lobby ‘investing in advocacy’

TERRE HAUTE — For those of you who know in your marrow that the president’s attempt to overhaul the U.S. health care system proves his socialist agenda, take the day off. What reporter Drew Armstrong of Bloomberg News shared this past week will be of no interest to you.

Everybody else, take a look at the perfectly legal process of corporate power quietly buying the legislation it desires. And keep the process in mind as the newly configured Congress tries to dismantle the health care reform act in the name of “the American people.”

Armstrong’s report sprang from the annual public disclosure of tax records that is required of organizations under federal law. Specifically, he dug into the 2009 records of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a whopping, one-source donation of $86.2 million given to the Chamber last year. The gift, wrote Armstrong, “accounted for 40 percent of the Chamber’s $214.6 million in 2009 expenditures.”

The generous donor? Although unidentified on the tax disclosure forms (it’s not required), sources confirmed to Armstrong that the Chamber’s Daddy Warbucks was America’s Health Insurance Plans. That is the lobbying group that represents such companies as Cigna Corp., UnitedHealth Group Inc., Humana Inc., Aetna and WellPoint Inc., the insurance giant based in Indianapolis.

“The spending on the Chamber exceeded the insurer group’s entire budget from a year earlier …” Armstrong reported, and “reflects the insurers’ attempts to influence the [health care reform] bill … after Democrats in Congress and the White House put more focus on regulation of the insurance industry.”

Armstrong queried America’s Health Insurance Plans about the lobby’s huge donation. A spokesman for the group, Robert Zirkelbach, responded in an e-mail: “With so much at stake we, like other major stakeholders, invested in advocacy. We supported a number of leading health-care advocacy organizations and coalitions that shared our views.”

Zirkelbach “declined to answer other questions on the money.” So did the members represented by the lobbying group. Not one contacted by Armstrong deigned to comment. Why would they? The law says they and their influential millions may remain as silent as sphinxes and as anonymous as Mafia hit men.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train Raw: Plane Lands on New York Highway Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Raw: 16 Killed in Gaza Market Strike Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Wisc. Twins Celebrate a Century of Laughter LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Bull Run Comes to Middle America Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Raw: Divers, Snorkelers at Undersea 'Concert'
NDN Video
Heartwarming 'Batkid Begins' Documentary is Tear-Jerker Orlando Bloom 'Takes a Swing' at Justin Bieber In Ibiza Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza Meet the Man Behind Dumb Starbucks Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show'
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity