Health Care Lobbyists Caught Ghostwriting for Lawmakers

November 15, 2009

(ChattahBox)—The New York Times today, has taken notice of dozens of remarkable similarities in statements read into the official House record during the debate of the historical passage of the health reform bill. Coincidence? Apparently not. The NY Times has learned that the language used by many lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, was ghostwritten by lobbyists working for Genentech, a subsidiary of the Swiss drug giant Roche.

The Times noted that the lobbyists circulated two separate drafts for Republicans and Democrats and were successful in convincing 42 House members to use their talking points, consisting of 22 Republicans and 20 Democrats. Among those caught using language from the lobbyists were, Reps. Robert A. Brady (D-PA), Phil Hare (D-IL), Bill Pascrell Jr (D-NJ), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) and Joe “You lie” Wilson (R-SC).

Rep. Brady’s chief of staff, Stanley V. White defended the practice, as not reinventing the wheel, if a lawmaker agreed with the policies contained in lobbyists’ missives. “We were approached by the lobbyist, who asked if we would be willing to enter a statement in the Congressional Record. I asked him for a draft. I tweaked a couple of words. There’s not much reason to reinvent the wheel on a Congressional Record entry,” said White.

A lobbyist closely associated with Genentech characterized the ghostwriting practice, as business as usual. “This happens all the time. There was nothing nefarious about it.”

But according to The NY Times, Genetech has a history of making campaign contributions to members who have read their talking points into the Congressional record:

“In recent years, Genentech’s political action committee and lobbyists for Roche and Genentech have made campaign contributions to many House members, including some who filed statements in the Congressional Record. And company employees have been among the hosts at fund-raisers for some of those lawmakers. But Evan L. Morris, head of Genentech’s Washington office, said, “There was no connection between the contributions and the statements.”

Whether nefarious or not, the practice certainly has a stench of undue influence.

See the NY Times for more.


Comments

7 Responses to “Health Care Lobbyists Caught Ghostwriting for Lawmakers”

  1. About health care lobbyists, house health care, genentech, health care statements | Find me About on November 15th, 2009 3:08 pm

    […] (ChattahBox)—The New York Times today, has taken notice of dozens of remarkable similarities in statements read into the official House record during the debate of the historical passage of the health reform bill. Coincidence? Apparently not. …Read Original Story: Health Care Lobbyists Caught Ghostwriting for Lawmakers – ChattahBox […]

  2. Wellescent Health Blog on November 15th, 2009 5:22 pm

    It is unfortunate to see such direct corporate involvement in the law making process given the vested interests that the lobbyists represent. While it is understandable to not reinvent the wheel, the question has to be asked as to whether the representatives are expending the effort to understand all the consequences of using wording provided by these corporate contributors.

  3. kent smith on November 15th, 2009 8:15 pm

    IT JUST GOES TO SHOW YOU THAT WE HAVE THE BEST GOVERMENT MONEY CAN BUY .

  4. About health care lobbyists, genentech, health care statements | Find me About on November 15th, 2009 9:10 pm

    […] (ChattahBox)—The New York Times today, has taken notice of dozens of remarkable similarities in statements read into the official House record during the debate of the historical passage of the health reform bill. Coincidence? Apparently not. …Read Original Story: Health Care Lobbyists Caught Ghostwriting for Lawmakers – ChattahBox […]

  5. About roche, health care lobbyists, house health care, genentech, health care statements | Find me About on November 16th, 2009 1:10 am

    […] (ChattahBox)—The New York Times today, has taken notice of dozens of remarkable similarities in statements read into the official House record during the debate of the historical passage of the health reform bill. Coincidence? Apparently not. …Read Original Story: Health Care Lobbyists Caught Ghostwriting for Lawmakers – ChattahBox […]

  6. About house health care debate, health care lobbyists, genentech, health care statements | Find me About on November 16th, 2009 11:13 am

    […] (ChattahBox)—The New York Times today, has taken notice of dozens of remarkable similarities in statements read into the official House record during the debate of the historical passage of the health reform bill. Coincidence? Apparently not. …Read Original Story: Health Care Lobbyists Caught Ghostwriting for Lawmakers – ChattahBox […]

  7. About house health care debate, house health debate, health care lobbyists, genentech, health care statements | Find me About on November 17th, 2009 3:13 am

    […] (ChattahBox)—The New York Times today, has taken notice of dozens of remarkable similarities in statements read into the official House record during the debate of the historical passage of the health reform bill. Coincidence? Apparently not. …Read Original Story: Health Care Lobbyists Caught Ghostwriting for Lawmakers – ChattahBox […]

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