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Insurance Industry Successful in Initial Fight Against Public Option; Public Feels Left Out
Date:9/30/2009

average, from insurers since 1989 than the 10 who voted for it.

"The insurance industry - and any other industry for that matter - will be able to fight off these kinds of reforms as long as they can continue to infuse the political debate with campaign contributions," said Nick Nyhart, president and CEO of Public Campaign. "The public knows that these big money donors expect something in return for their money - and Americans feel like their voices don't count. That's why we need the Fair Elections Now Act."

The Fair Elections Now Act, introduced by Democratic Caucus Chair John Larson in the House and Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin in the Senate, would reduce the fundraising pressures on members of Congress. If enacted, congressional candidates would be able to run for office with a mixture of small donations and public funding. The House bill (HR 1826) is nearing 100 co-sponsors.

In addition, yesterday the Wall Street Journal released an analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics that found that lobbyists have dramatically shifted their giving from Republican candidates and party committees to the Democrats. Lobbyists gave approximately 37 percent of their donations to Democrats in 2006, when the Republicans controlled the White House and the Senate. Since the Democrats took control of both chambers of Congress and the White House this year, lobbyists have given 70 percent of their contributions to Democrats. During the first six months of this year Democrats have received 65 percent of donations from corporate political action committees, compared to 44 percent during the first six months of 2005. The Journal found that trend is true across all nine major industry groups, including health care.

"There is absolutely no question that money talks in Washington for both Republicans and Democrats," said Edgar. "Until we reform this system of campaign fundraising in this count
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SOURCE Common Cause and Public Campaign
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