A few weeks ago, we set out to build a list of congressional-staffers-turned-health care lobbyists. With the help of some incredible citizen journalists at the Huffington Post Investigative Unit, our list of lobbyists has grown exponentially this week. Here are a few trends we’ve found thus far.
Where they work
Three lobbying firms have acquired a good number of staffers who have worked in congressional offices with close ties to the health care industry. For example, Cassidy & Associates employs former Olympia Snowe staffer Arran Haynes and Mehlman, Vogel & Castagnetti has picked up Chuck Grassley’s former health policy aid Colette Desmarais. Greenberg Traurig has also acquired a good number of folks who have worked on the Hill. These firms represent companies including AHIP, Humana and Community Health Systems. Having Hill heavyweights on their staff sure has made these firms attractive picks for the health care industry.
Who they give money to
Ten of the lobbyists we’ve identified have given money to Senator Max Baucus. Granted, many of them worked for him at some point, but others such as former Joe Lieberman staffer Anne Urban and former chief of staff for John Kerry David Leiter did not. We also found that many of the staffers on our list have given to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (where Rahm Emanuel served as chair in ’06) and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. This observation begs the question of how much these lobbyists, given their work experience on the Hill and financial contributions to Democrats, are influencing the Blue Dogs and the larger debate on health care reform.
These findings are only the beginning. With the help of our incredible analysts, we’re adding more staffers and relationships every day. But to keep this momentum building, we need your help! Today, we’re expanding our project. We’re going to start looking for health care lobbyists with a history working for all members of Congress. Given that we’ve found 88 lobbyists from looking at just 30 members of Congress, we’re confident we can come up with a list of lobbyists that exceeds the 350 The Washington Post found earlier in the month.
If you’re an analyst, feel free to get started by investigating your congressperson’s current and former staff members. If you want to help but aren’t sure how, you can sign up here and then join us on our training call Monday at 8 pm. We’ll give you all the tools you’ll need to become an expert watchdog. To sign up, just shoot an email to [email protected]