As President Obama moves ahead with health care reform, interest groups on both sides of the issue are again ramping up their lobbying efforts. Robert Zirkelbach of America's Health Insurance Plans, the insurance industry's top lobbying group, said his industry is making "a big effort" to counteract attacks from Obama and other Democrats, who have pointed to hefty premium increases to show why health care reform is needed.
California officials who oversee the spending of billions of dollars in California's Medicaid prescription drug program failed to disclose free flights, hotel rooms and meals funded by pharmaceutical companies.
Citizens in the Ukraine are starting to see American-style campaign sloganeering and other tactics in the race between their Prime Minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, and her main rival, Viktor Yanukovich, for the office of President.
The Center for Media and Democracy and BanksterUSA are pleased to present our Golden Throne Award to T. Timothy Ryan Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of the Securities Industries and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA). SIFMA is the leading behind-the-scenes lobby group representing big banks and investment firms, as well as broker-dealers and other peddlers of financial instruments, which Warren Buffett labeled "weapons of mass destruction." SIFMA lobbies Congress and financial regulators, and handles securities-related press for some of the biggest players in the financial crisis--Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, AIG, Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, and Fidelity Investments.
Republicans are on the defensive. As we enter the 2010 election cycle, Republicans are a bit worried that Americans might remember how their maniacal push to deregulate Wall Street resulted in the collapse of the global economy on their watch. They need a new message to appeal to hard-hit voters. To the rescue comes renowned Republican strategist and spinmeister Frank Luntz.
In his State of the Union address this week, President Obama urged members of Congress to be more transparent about their interactions with lobbyists. Yet this same week, members of the House Republican Caucus will attend a retreat sponsored by the non-profit Congressional Institute, where they will mingle privately with lobbyists.
The debate over banks and banking came front and center this week. In his toughest language yet, President Barack Obama vowed to veto financial reform legislation that is not tough enough on Wall Street. "The lobbyists are already trying to kill it," Obama told Congress in his State of the Union address. "Well, we cannot let them win this fight.