Lobbying

Put out the FIRE on Capitol Hill with a Consumer Financial Protection Agency

October 14th, the Obama administration's principal piece of financial service reform legislation, the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, will be up for committee consideration in the House Financial Services Committee. The most important thing to know about the bill? It creates a new federal agency in Washington whose sole purpose is to protect consumers from the deceptive tricks and traps of the financial services industry. The most important thing to know about the committee reviewing the bill? It's on FIRE.

A New Deceptive Report from Big Insurance

After months of appearing to be cooperative while quietly working behind the scenes to influence health care reform, the health insurance industry has finally launched a wholesale attack against the Senate Finance Committee's health insurance reform legislation on the day before Committee members are set to vote on the plan.

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When Big Insurance Rejoices, Something's Wrong

If you had any doubt about who some Senators on the Senate Finance Committee really, truly care about, consider their recent votes. Just look at the votes against creating a public option to compete against private insurers. Then, consider the giddy response of the industry, according to an article in the trade press:

"We are pleased by the rejection of both the Rockefeller and the Schumer amendments containing public plan options," says Tom Currey, president of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, Falls Church, Va.... America's Health Insurance Plans, Washington, is also welcoming committee rejection of the amendments. "The government-run plan is a roadblock to reform," AHIP spokesman Robert Zirkelbach says.... "[W]e are very pleased with this outcome," says Janet Trautwein, president of the National Association of Health Underwriters, Arlington, Va.

Amy Goodman Interviews CMD's Wendell Potter

CMD's Wendell Potter has become a frequent guest on Democracy Now!. Host Amy Goodman interviewed him again on September 30th: "Efforts to create a government-run health insurance plan were dealt a setback Tuesday after the Senate Finance Committee rejected a pair of amendments to create a public option.

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U.S. Chamber of Commerce Downsized

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), a California-based power utility, has resigned from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over what the utility's chairman and CEO, Peter Darbee, describes as "fundamental differences" over climate change policy.

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Wendell Potter: How Corporate PR Works to Kill Health Care Reform

September 14th I addressed a gathering at the Center for American Progress in Washington, DC and delivered these remarks:

It is easy to think of efforts to influence lawmakers as the exclusive domain of K Street lobbyists. Much has been said and written about the millions of dollars the special interests are spending on lobbying activities and the hundreds of lobbyists who are at work as we speak trying to shape health care reform legislation. Very little by comparison has been written about the millions of dollars that special interests are spending on PR activities to accomplish the same goal and that are vital to successful lobbying efforts.

One of the reasons I left my job at CIGNA, where I headed corporate communications and was part of the Legal & Public Affairs division, was because I did not want to be involved in yet another PR and lobbying campaign to kill or gut reform. I finally came to question the ethics of what I had done and been a part of for nearly two decades to influence decision-making and bill writing on Capitol Hill.

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