Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Best Congress Money can Buy

I've long supported the Green Party because they refuse to take corporate money as a matter of principle. I also appreciate the unwaivering commitment to peace, sustainability and democracy.

The Green Party has also been a long-time proponent of universal, single-payer health care system. Unfortunately, Americans aren't getting a fair and unbiased hearing on this proven approach. I believe that is due to the corporate domination of our political system.

Amy Goodman from Democracy Now did a story today on Senator Max Baucus (D) and some of the key people drafting health care reform. The original reporting was done by Max Dennison of the Montana Lee Newspapers Montana State Bureau. Here is what she reported in her story:

  • Senator Baucus chairs the Senate Finance Committee. In the last six years he's raised nearly $15 million of which 23 percent came from insurance and health interests.
  • Senator Charles Grassley (R), ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee received 23.5 percent of his financial support over the past six years from insurance and health sectors.
  • Senator Charles Dodd (D), who is essentially running the Health Committee in the absence of Senator Ted Kennedy got 23 percent of his funds from the insurance and health sectors.

The Washington Post recently reported that almost thirty key lawmakers have personal investments totaling nearly $11 million.

  • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has at least $50,000 invested in a healthcare index.
  • Senator Judd Gregg (R), a senior member of the Health Committe has up to $560,000 of equities in major healthcare companies including Bristo-Myers Squibb and Merck.
  • The family of Congresswoman Jane Harman (D) held at least $3.2 million in more than twenty health care companies at the end of 2008.
  • Senator John Kerry (D), and his wife Teresa Heinz kerry hold at least $5.2 million in companies such as Merck and Eli Lilly.
  • Senator Johnny Isakson (R) holds at least $165,000 in pharmaceutical and medical stocks.
  • Senator Kay Hagan (D) holds at least $180,000 in more than twenty healthcare companies.
  • Senator Chris Dodd's (D) wife serves on the board of four healthcare companies and received more than $200,000 last year in salary and stock for her service.
  • Eight of the twenty-two member Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee have financial interests in the healthcare industry. This committee was to hold a hearing today on healthcare reform.

Doesn't that look like a conflict of interest? Do you doubt their corporate ties and personal investments influence their decisions? This is absurd.

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