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November 15, 2009

Lawmakers delivered talking points written by drug company lobbyists

Robert Pear of the New York Times exposes an old fashioned bipartisan scandal; Genentech lobbyists wrote talking points for legislators and dozens of legislators used them:

WASHINGTON — In the official record of the historic House debate on overhauling health care, the speeches of many lawmakers echo with similarities. Often, that was no accident.

Statements by more than a dozen lawmakers were ghostwritten, in whole or in part, by Washington lobbyists working for Genentech, one of the world’s largest biotechnology companies.

E-mail messages obtained by The New York Times show that the lobbyists drafted one statement for Democrats and another for Republicans.

The lobbyists, employed by Genentech and by two Washington law firms, were remarkably successful in getting the statements printed in the Congressional Record under the names of different members of Congress.

Genentech, a subsidiary of the Swiss drug giant Roche, estimates that 42 House members picked up some of its talking points — 22 Republicans and 20 Democrats, an unusual bipartisan coup for lobbyists. [NYT]

I am dismayed to learn that my congresswoman, Yvette Clark (D-NY) was one of the legislators Pear caught cribbing extensively from Genetech's notes. 


This is exactly the result of the need for private money (big business) to fund political campaigns. Americans who oppose public financing of all political campaigns because it would be too expensive are delusional. If they would just open their eyes a little, they would see just how expensive the current system really is.

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