Saturday, August 22, 2009

Government Of, By, and For the Corporations

Back to Wendell Potter and his interview with Bill Moyers concerning the health insurance industry. In the following part of the interview, he shares the inside track that these companies have with politicians of both parties. This is something that we rarely have knowledge about, but that obviously has tremendously impact on legislation. You can read the whole interview here.

BILL MOYERS: Why is the industry so powerful on both sides of the aisle?
WENDELL POTTER: Well, money and relationships, ideology. The relationships--
an insurance company can hire and does hire many different lobbying firms. And
they hire firms that are predominantly Republican and predominantly Democrat.
And they do this because they know they need to reach influential members of
Congress like Max Baucus. So there are people who used to work for Max Baucus
who are in lobbying firms or on the staff of companies like Cigna or the
association itself.
BILL MOYERS: Yeah, I just read the other day, in THE
WASHINGTON POST, that Max Baucus's staff met with a group of lobbyists. Two of
them had been Baucus's former chiefs of staff.
BILL MOYERS: I mean, they left the government. They go to work for the
industry. Now they're back with an insider status. They get an access, right?
WENDELL POTTER: Oh, they do, they do. And these lobbyists' ability to raise
money for these folks also is very important as well.
Lobbyists, many of the
big lobbyists contributed a lot of money themselves. One of the lobbyists for
one of the big health insurance company is Heather Podesta, the Podesta Group,
and she's married to Tony Podesta, who's a brother of John Podesta.
MOYERS: Who used to be the White House chief of staff [for President Clinton].

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