From the NEWS & RECORD:
The watchdog group Democracy North Carolina offers a piece of advice about the health care reform issue: follow the money.
The nonpartisan group says that between 2003 and 2008, the nation’s drug makers, health care professionals and insurance industry contributed $5.2 million to the state’s congressional delegation.
Following the money, said Bob Hall, executive director of the Durham-based group, “tells us that there is a substantial amount of money given by this sector. It tells us that nearly a third of it went to one person: Richard Burr .”
An analysis by Hall’s group shows that over the six-year period, the health and insurance industries gave Burr, a Republican senator from Winston-Salem , $1.6 million in campaign contributions.
Hall said that’s nearly three times greater than the next-highest recipient in the Tar Heel delegation: Rep. Sue Myrick , a Charlotte Republican who took in nearly $631,000 from the health care and insurance industries.
Hall, whose group works on campaign finance and voting-related issues, said Burr opposes the Democratic-sponsored health reform proposals in the House and Senate .
Democracy North Carolina said Burr opposed bills to require Medicare to negotiate lower prices for prescriptions drugs and a bill to provide incentives for Medicaid recipients to use generics instead of brand-name drugs.
The group also said the top three Tar Heel recipients from the health care/insurance sector in the past six years were Republicans.
The organization said Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat from Greensboro, received $217,208 from the sector for her 2008 campaign. That compares to the $786,712 raised by her opponent, then-Sen. Elizabeth Dole , a Republican.
The analysis showed that health care/insurance money represented less than 4 percent of the contributions Hagan collected that could be classified by sector.
Rep. Brad Miller of Raleigh, whose district includes a portion of Greensboro and Guilford County , received contributions of $300,249, the most of any Democrat in the delegation.
Rep. Howard Coble, a Republican from Greensboro, received $133,602, ranking him last among candidates who have run in the past three elections.
Rep. Mel Watt, a Democrat from Charlotte whose district includes parts of Greensboro and Guilford County, raised $177,350 from the sector.
“Money plays a role in politics, unfortunately,” Watt said. “The appearance of being purchased … is not good. We need to find some other means of financing campaigns, such as public financing, which is what Democracy North Carolina is all about.”
The analysis used data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics and the Federal Elections Commission.
I’ll spare you the individual quotes from their mouthpieces. It’s the same thing they always say–the money doesn’t affect how they vote, as they all vote their consciences. Of course, that doesn’t answer the question–why do lobbyists ply them with money if it doesn’t change any minds?
UPDATE: Wickle mentioned NASCAR in the comments, which brought to mind this graphic I made a while back. It’s what a politician would look like if he had to wear the logos of all the corporations that lined his pockets. The bigger the logo, the more money he took from them.