Senator Max Baucus, A Leading Architect of Health Care Reform, Received More Industry Contributions Than Any Other Congressional Candidate
WASHINGTON, DC — Health insurers and drug companies gave a combined $6.1 million to the top ten recipients in each house of Congress since 2005, according to a study released today by the non-profit Consumer Watchdog.
Health insurers contributed $2.7 million to the top ten members in each house, while pharmaceutical companies contributed $3.4 million to the top ten members of each. The two industries donated a combined $26.2 million in campaign contributions to the current members of the 111th Congress. The Center for Responsive Politics compiled federal campaign contribution data for use in this analysis.
With the exception of John McCain (R-AZ), Max Baucus (D-MT) received more money than any other current member of Congress from both the health insurance and the pharmaceutical industries. For the 2006, 2008 and 2010 election cycles, Baucus received $213,400 in contributions from health insurance companies and $229,520 from the pharmaceutical industry. As chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Baucus is one of the primary architects of health care reform in Congress.
Download Consumer Watchdog analysis below (Top 10 charts) —
The health insurance industry’s two top priorities are requiring every American to buy health insurance – the so-called individual mandate – and eliminating a "public option" that would give Americans an alternative to private, for-profit health insurance. The House legislation and the legislation approved by Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee include potentially strong public health plans but it remains unclear whether Baucus’s Finance committee bill will include any viable public option, available as an alternative for all Americans. Both the House and Senate bills currently include the mandatory purchase provision.
Baucus held a Montana fundraiser last month that was reportedly well-attended by health industry lobbyists, and has another scheduled the weekend of August 1 dubbed "Camp Baucus," where donors and "the whole family" can "enjoy Big Sky’s fly fishing, golf, horseback riding and great hiking."
"When a key player in health reform has taken more money from health insurers and drug companies than any other member of Congress save one, he has to go the extra mile to prove that industry money hasn’t bought the debate," said Carmen Balber, Washington director for Consumer Watchdog. "At the very least, any lobbyist with an interest in the health care bill should be banned from the ‘Camp Baucus’ fundraising retreat. If Senator Baucus can’t refuse their money, how will the American people be confident he can refuse their demands?"
Consumer Watchdog’s analysis ranks industry contributions to members of the 111th Congress in the House and Senate. Contributions totals for former Senators Clinton, Biden, and Salazar; former Representatives Emanuel and Solis; and President Obama are not included in the rankings. In 2007 and 2008, President Obama raised $1,085,469 in contributions from individuals employed by the insurance industry and $1,087,491 from those employed by the pharmaceutical industry. However, President Obama did not raise any of this money from industry PACs (political action committees).
Consumer Watchdog is a nonpartisan consumer advocacy organization with offices in Washington, D.C. and Santa Monica, CA. Find us on the web at www.ConsumerWatchdog.org.