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Backgrounder: As Obama Makes Pitch to AMA, the Group Tries to Call in its Political Investment in Congress

AMA "acting like a typical special interest," says campaign finance watchdog group

WASHINGTON, June 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Medical Association has spent $204.4 million to influence Congress and Administrations over the last ten years, and another $26.2 million in campaign contributions over the last two decades, according to a Public Campaign Action Fund review of data at the Center for Responsive Politics website.

"When President Obama addresses the AMA today, he will be speaking to a group that is acting more like a typical Washington special interest than one that is concerned about the health and well-being of all Americans," said David Donnelly, national campaigns director of Public Campaign Action Fund.

The AMA announced its opposition to a public health insurance option last week, a central part of the health care reform legislation emerging in Washington, and a provision backed by President Obama.

The data review by Public Campaign Action Fund found that the AMA historically has given most of its money to Republican candidates and committees, but shifted its giving towards the Democrats by 48% between 2006 and 2008.

"That the AMA's PAC dramatically changed its donation pattern in just two years shows that they know they were girding for a fight against health care reform in this Congress," added Donnelly. "After nine straight elections in which they gave more to Republicans - they are making up for lost time to build relationships with Democrats. We'll see how that has worked in the weeks and months to come."

The AMA's lobbying expenditures have steadily increased over the past several years, but fell off slightly in 2008 from a high point of $22.1 million in 2007. The AMA has already spent $4.4 million in the first quarter, and its expenditures are expected to climb as the debate picks up in Congress.

Public Campaign Action Fund is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing comprehensive public financing of elections and to holding elected officials accountable for the favors they give to special interests donors.

SOURCE Public Campaign Action Fund
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