June 30, 2012

VIDEO: McCain Denounces Big Pharma Lobbyists Who Just Killed Cheaper Drugs Again

Imagine you could get pharmaceutical drugs for twenty to eighty percent cheaper. If you’re someone with multiple prescriptions, that could save you thousands of dollars every year.

The thing is, you can. Or, you could, if you were allowed to import safe pharmaceutical drugs from Canada. But you’re not, because the U.S. government bars you from doing so. Why? Mostly because the drug industry lobby — led by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) — opposes this sort of free trade that would lower drug prices (and Pharma’s profits). PhRMA even strong-armed President Obama into opposing reimportation thanks to its …

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June 29, 2012

Eric Cantor’s Aide Departs For Bank CEO Lobbying Group

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) has led every major pro-bank legislative drive in recent years: He rallied supporters of the bank bailouts, killed efforts to cap banker bonuses, fought measures to allow those under foreclosure to renegotiate the terms of their mortgage, and marshaled opposition to the sweeping reforms known as Dodd-Frank. Now, a key member of his communications team, Laena Fallon, is moving to work even more directly for Wall Street.

The National Journal reports that Fallon is joining the Financial Services Forum, a “CEO-driven organization” that helps banks like Wells Fargo and …

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June 29, 2012

VIDEO: Congressman Tom Reed Gives Earmark-Tariffs To His Top Contributors, Defends Practice

Though Republicans came into power promising a moratorium on earmarks — the special legislative deals that benefit a single company or interest group — Congressman Tom Reed (R-NY) explained to Republic Report that an array of bills he recently introduced that only benefit one or two companies in his district are not, in his opinion, earmarks.

Reed, who has led efforts to bring back earmarks in the form of special tariff-reductions and exemptions, defended his practice of handing out these specific giveaways to his campaign contributors. The GOP leadership banned the practice of earmarks to deter rampant pay-to-play corruption. …

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June 29, 2012

Senator Sherrod Brown Explains Why Big Business Owns Congress

In a piece about populism and the Democratic Party in Politico, Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown (OH) explained how Big Business has, through its ability to tap into an extraordinary amount of campaign contributions, independent expenditures, and other electoral interventions, been able to own Congress:

“They own the Republican Party, and they have too much influence in my party, I mean there’s no question about that,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), a true-blue populist up for reelection who has had $8.3 million spent against him already by third-party groups, most of them allies of business . “That’s why wealth is so concentrated …

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June 28, 2012

VIDEO: Outside Of Supreme Court, GOP Front Group Funded With Secret Health Insurance Cash Tries To Hide Affiliation

Earlier this month, health insurance company Aetna accidentally leaked a document that revealed that the company secretly funneled $7.7 million to Republican front groups in 2010. The money was earmarked for the Karl Rove’s American Action Forum ($3.3 million) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ($4.4 million), two groups that led the charge in fighting against health reform and running deceptive advertising about supporters of the law. One particularly nasty American Action Network ad said congressmen who voted for the bill were providing viagra for rapists.

This morning outside the Supreme Court, as crowds gathered to await the decision, we …

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June 28, 2012
Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois.

As States Act To Shut Down Deceptive Website, Durbin Says For-Profit Colleges “Own Every Lobbyist” In DC

On Wednesday, 20 state attorneys general announced a court settlement with QuinStreet Inc., a marketing company working for for-profit colleges, that will shut down the deceptive website GIBill.com and turn that web address over to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

GIBill.com, until recently, looked a lot like a government website. But people who went there seeking advice on higher education options were always steered to a for-profit college that paid for the privilege. Deceptive marketing like this, along with coercive recruiting tactics, push thousands of our troops and veterans to shoddy for-profit colleges that have high prices, low-quality educations, …

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June 28, 2012
Eric Holder is implicated in the Fast and Furious scandal thanks to the influence of corporate lobbyists.
Will Attorney General Eric Holder be a victim of the influence of corporate money in politics?

A ‘Fast And Furious’ Hypocrisy: Members Behind Holder Contempt Vote Receive Lots Of Campaign Cash From The National Rifle Association

One person who is probably happy about the attention the Supreme Court is getting for its pending Obamacare decision is Attorney General Eric Holder, who, by any measure, is having a really bad week. Later today, the House of Representatives is likely to hold him in contempt of Congress because he has refused to hand over documents related to “Operation Fast and Furious” to the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

The gist of the story is this: The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has been charged with the Sisyphean task of stopping guns from being trafficked from …

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June 27, 2012
New York state will investigate the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for unfair corporate influence in elections.

NY Attorney General Probing U.S. Chamber of Commerce For Allegedly Laundering AIG Money For Lobbying, Political Commercials

Yesterday, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued a subpoena targeting a foundation affiliated with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for illegally funneling $18 million to the Chamber for its political campaigning and lobbying efforts.

The New York Times reports:

The investigation is also looking at connections between the chamber’s foundation, the National Chamber Foundation, and another philanthropy, the Starr Foundation, which made large grants to the chamber foundation in 2003 and 2004. During the same period, the National Chamber Foundation lent the chamber $18 million, most of it for what was described as a capital campaign.

Watchdog groups claim that …

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