Following President Barack Obama's first address to Congress, which highlighted policy goals "ranging from expanding health-care coverage to cutting farm subsidies to cutting wasteful defense projects," corporate front groups are fighting back. The former head of the largest for-profit hospital chain, HCA, announced "a $20 million campaign to pressure Democrats to enact health-care legislation based on free-market principles," under the name "Conservatives for Patients Rights." Joe Lucas of the coal and utility industry front group American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity said his organization "will spend as much as $40 million to make sure Congress approved a global-warming plan" that includes funding for developing "carbon capture and storage" technology at coal-fired electric plants. The Aerospace Industries Association of America has already spent $2 million on ads arguing that military spending "shouldn't be slashed to offset shortfalls in other areas." Boeing recently added a new top lobbyist, David Morrison from the Podesta Group firm, and Lockheed is still trying to associate its F-22 Raptor fighter jet with stimulus efforts, via its PreserveRaptorJobs.com astroturf website.
By Diane Farsetta on February 26, 2009