Fighting the corporate lobbying machine

Just because the Bush administration is out doesn’t mean the battle with the corporate lobbying machine is over. This week has been a busy one for Public Citizen and our efforts to fight for reforms that benefit the American public. Check out these news highlights.

CQ Politics quotes Public Citizen’s campaign finance reform lobbyist in an excellent piece about Senate Finance chairman Max Baucus (D-Mon) going fishing for dollars at a $2,500 per person fundraising event.

“It’s unseemly to be doing this just before the markup,” said [Public Citizen’s Craig] Holman, referring to pending committee action on Baucus’ draft health care bill. “This kind of schmoozing of lawmakers clearly buys influence. This kind of event clearly shows why we need public financing.”

The Associated Press called on Tyson Slocum, Public Citizen’s energy program director, to comment on the oil industry’s amped-up effort to lobby, baby, lobby; already, Big Oil has spent $44.5 million trying to get Congress to see things its way. Time to fight back.

Public Citizen’s report on hospitals’ lax discipline of doctors was cited by Ann Woolner of Bloomberg News in her column. “If hospitals, state medical boards and federal and state lawmakers became more vigilant and less forgiving, surely the needless maiming and killing of patients and the mammoth awards those cases bring would shrink,” Woolner compellingly argues.

In “Why Does Chamber of Commerce Favor Arbitration for Workplace Rape Victims, But Oppose It for Union Workers?” Art Levine calls out the hypocrisy of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and corporations who favor forced arbitration when it allows them to avoid accountability but vehemently opposes arbitration to enable workers to get a contract as per the proposed Employee Free Choice Act. Public Citizen’s David Arkush weighs in.

 Public Citizen health researcher Dr. James Floyd called out unfair news coverage of a congressional hearing on single-payer health care in a letter published in the Washington Post. “[T]o decry a national system of health-care financing that retains the private delivery of health care as socialism simply plays into the propaganda and fear-mongering of the right and the private insurance lobby, which opposes any challenge to its obscene profits,” wrote Floyd.