With the debate about the shape of the healthcare reform provoking cross-partisan divisions, it may be interesting to note a recent study from Consumer Watchdog which found that industry lobbyists have hosted at least 130 fundraisers for lawmakers thus far in 2009.
The targeted members of Congress sit on five key committees responsible for fashioning comprehensive healthcare reform, and they include the Senate Finance Committee as well as Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; House Education and Labor; House Energy and Commerce; and House Ways and Means Committees.
Senate Finance Committee members raised the most money from the health industry, the report has found. Cumulatively, they benefitted from 11 fundraisers and $13,150,077. Meanwhile, House Labor and Pensions received $747,014.
Overall, all committees have raised nearly $31 million this year.
"The public can’t be confident in health reform if Congress insists on accepting industry money while legislating," comments Carmen Balber, Washington director for Consumer Watchdog.
She goes on to ask, "who can tell which hard decisions on health reform are being made over $1,000 high-balls shared by lobbyists and politicians while the public’s locked out of the room?"
The organization has therefore called on lawmakers to cancel upcoming health industry fundraisers and return any campaign contributions from the industry until the healthcare reform process is complete.