While the BP oil geyser pumps millions of gallons of petroleum into the Gulf of Mexico, President Barack Obama and members of Congress may have to answer for the millions in campaign contributions they’ve taken from the oil and gas giant over the years.
BP and its employees have given more than $3.5 million to federal candidates over the past 20 years, with the largest chunk of their money going to Obama, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Donations come from a mix of employees and the company’s political action committees — $2.89 million flowed to campaigns from BP-related PACs and about $638,000 came from individuals. On top of that, the oil giant has spent millions each year on lobbying — including $15.9 million last year alone — as it has tried to influence energy policy.
Tag Archives | Lobbyists
Alan Fram writes on Huffington Post:
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Chalk one up for the pharmaceutical lobby. The U.S. drug industry fended off price curbs and other hefty restrictions in President Barack Obama’s health care law even as it prepares for plenty of new business when an estimated 32 million uninsured Americans gain health coverage.
To be sure, the law also levies taxes and imposes other costs on pharmaceutical companies, leaving its final impact on the industry’s bottom line uncertain. A recent analysis by Goldman Sachs suggests the overhaul could mean “a manageable hit” of tens of billions of dollars over the coming decade while bolstering the value of drug-company stocks. Others expect profits, not losses, of the same magnitude.
Either way, pharmaceutical lobbyists won new federal policies they coveted and set a trajectory for long-term industry growth. Privately, several of them say their biggest triumph was heading off Democrats led by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., who wanted even more money from their industry to finance the health care system’s expansion.
Bill Moyers and Michael Winship writes on Huffington Post:
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That famous definition of a cynic as someone who knows the price of everything — and the value of nothing — has come to define this present moment of American politics.
No wonder people have lost faith in politicians, parties and in our leadership. The power of money drives cynicism deep into the heart of every level of government. Everything, and everyone, comes with a price tag attached: from a seat at the table in the White House to a seat in Congress, to the fate of health care reform, our environment, and efforts to restrain Wall Street’s greed and prevent another financial catastrophe.
Our government is not broken; it’s been bought out from under us, and on the right and the left and smack across the vast middle, more and more Americans doubt representative democracy can survive the corruption of money.
Evan Bayh is not a centrist, he's a corporatist, according to Bill Maher. Maher appeared on "Anderson Cooper 360" Tuesday night to comment on the state of affairs in Washington, D.C. He argued that Evan Bayh, the retiring Senator from Indiana, is what's wrong with Congress. The Senate is "where legislation goes to die," Maher says, because "corporatist Democrats" like Bayh act like Republicans. Maher told Cooper that politics are not polarized enough and that the U.S. lacks a real progressive party.
Arthur Delaney writes on Huffington Post:
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The lobbying industry demonstrated its resilience last year in the face of the recession and is fully expected to smash previous spending records. On Wednesday, lobbyists filed their fourth-quarter reports, offering the first glimpse at their spending totals for the year.
Here’s what HuffPost has found so far by looking at some of the biggest companies in the banking, health care and energy industries: The heavy hitters indeed hit harder than ever in 2009.
To wit: The Chamber of Commerce, lobbying muscle for all manner of businesses on all manner of issues, spent an eye-popping $71 million on lobbying in the fourth quarter of 2009 alone, bringing its yearly total to $123 million, almost double the $62 million it spent in 2008 — and more than it’s ever spent.
I’d like to read more headlines like this about the Obama administration. This is what people voted for, the idea that private influence could be less powerful than the public interest. We can dream.
Dan Eggen writes in the Washington Post:
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Hundreds, if not thousands, of lobbyists are likely to be ejected from federal advisory panels as part of a little-noticed initiative by the Obama administration to curb K Street’s influence in Washington, according to White House officials and lobbying experts.
The new policy — issued with little fanfare this fall by the White House ethics counsel — may turn out to be the most far-reaching lobbying rule change so far from President Obama, who also has sought to restrict the ability of lobbyists to get jobs in his administration and to negotiate over stimulus contracts.
The initiative is aimed at a system of advisory committees so vast that federal officials don’t have exact numbers for its size; the most recent estimates tally nearly 1,000 panels with total membership exceeding 60,000 people.
By Robert Pear for the NY Times:
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WASHINGTON — In the official record of the historic House debate on overhauling health care, the speeches of many lawmakers echo with similarities. Often, that was no accident.
Statements by more than a dozen lawmakers were ghostwritten, in whole or in part, by Washington lobbyists working for Genentech, one of the world’s largest biotechnology companies.
E-mail messages obtained by The New York Times show that the lobbyists drafted one statement for Democrats and another for Republicans.
The lobbyists, employed by Genentech and by two Washington law firms, were remarkably successful in getting the statements printed in the Congressional Record under the names of different members of Congress.
Genentech, a subsidiary of the Swiss drug giant Roche, estimates that 42 House members picked up some of its talking points — 22 Republicans and 20 Democrats, an unusual bipartisan coup for lobbyists.
In an interview, Representative Bill Pascrell Jr., Democrat of New Jersey, said: “I regret that the language was the same.