Healthcare and Insurance Campaign Contributions to
North Carolina Members of Congress Top $5 Million:
Senator Richard Burr Leads the List

Democracy North Carolina
Press Release, August 13, 2009

As the debate about health insurance reform continues, a new analysis shows a wide disparity in the amount of campaign donations members of Congress from North Carolina have received from healthcare providers, drug makers, and the insurance industry.

The state’s two U.S. Senators and 13 members of the House of Representatives have received a total of $5.2 million from individuals and political action committees (PACs) related to insurance and healthcare services in the past three election cycles (covering 2003-2008), according our analysis of data compiled from the Center for Responsive Politics and the Federal Elections Commission. Here are some highlights from the table of contributions:

"Members of Congress are currently mired in a system where the perception is that money has undue influence over votes,” Rep. Jones told his colleagues. He noted the role of the campaign donations in the Medicare drug coverage debate of 2003 and said, “The same thing is happening today: special interests are pouring money into the healthcare debate. It’s time to return the government to the people. The first step is for Congress to pass legislation like the Fair Elections Now Act, which would help ensure that the average citizen has a voice. Let the people, not special interest groups, control Washington."

Bob Hall, executive director of Democracy North Carolina, noted that none of the four NC legislators (Burr, Foxx, McHenry, Myrick) who raised $180,000 or more from either healthcare professionals, drug makers, or the insurance industry earned a score above 15 on the American Public Health Association’s voting assessment for 2005-06 Butterfield, Miller, Price and Watt each earned a 90; Etheridge and McIntyre each scored 74; Jones got a 73; and Coble got a 7. Hall further noted:

The pharmaceutical and insurance industries are among the most aggressive lobbies in Washington, and they pour millions into campaigns to gain an advantage that can harm consumers. Many members take the money and still vote against these industries, but consistent opposition comes with a price. The nation needs public campaign finance reform as well as serious health insurance reform, and we may not get the second without the first.

For more information, Hall can be reached at (919) 489-1931.

This page was posted on August 13, 2009.

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