Under The Influence, Tarbell's Weekly Newsletter

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This Week In Tarbell

Buyer Beware: the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ warning and watch lists for nursing homes is not widely publicized, and the rating system is not easy to understand. Luckily, Trudy Lieberman explores the meaning behind the rankings in her latest column.

Click Here To Read Trudy’s Analysis – “Senators Release Disturbing Report On America’s Nursing Homes” – On Tarbell.org

 

Notable reporting and solutions

The House Ways and Means committee was supposed to discuss Medicare For All this week, but the chairman, Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass) abruptly broadened the scope. Funnily enough, Sludge noted that the chairman received more than $61,000 from PACs and individuals connected with the health care industry.

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One of the mid-level State Department officials who orchestrated the Trump administration’s decision to sell arms to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates was a former weapons industry lobbyists. House Democrats are, unshockingly, concerned.

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With all (government) eyes on Big Tech firms during Congress’s and attorneys’ general investigation of their operations, Google let go of multiple lobbying firms, nixing about half of its $20 million influence budget.

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A day before the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee went into intense discussions on the 2020 defense authorization bill, Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) was schmoozing with military industrialists at her own $500-a-ticket fundraiser.

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Despite the compounding forces that are trying to deride the Medicare for All movement, Truthout notes in a news analysis that a growing block of rural Americans do seek health care reform, and that block will likely grow as the industry’s messaging campaigns grow more transparent.

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Spotlight on local reporting

Alabama sheriffs do not “hand in the badge” humbly, a new report from AL.com and ProPublica shows. The local reporting network reveals that incumbent sheriffs had abused power in order to undermine their successors – at the cost of taxpayers.

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Reporters for the Kansas City Star unravel the attempts to change Missouri’s Title IX bill, and how much weight an influential lobbyist and a dark money group can hold over a murky legislative process.

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A small base of “megadonors” is unloading money to influence Oregon’s state legislators, according to a new Maplight analysis. More than $4.7 million of the state’s total lobbying, or 25 percent of all donations, came from 14 megadonors, and 60 percent of state fundraising came from just 20 zip codes, mostly in the Portland metro area.

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A new case in West Virginia courts rejected previous lawsuits claiming that the dust, noise and traffic caused by fracking was a nuisance to landowners. As the executive director of the Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia put it, this lets “Wall Street know capital investment in oil and natural gas is welcome in West Virginia.”

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Floridians surpassed a major hurdle to accessing lower cost prescription drugs from abroad after Gov. Rick DeSantis approved a bill to import drugs. But the federal Health and Human Services still could block the law, and pharmaceutical companies already vowed to start a campaign against it. 

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An investigation by the Detroit Free Press revealed that Michigan Transportation officials based their recent report off advice from a lobbying firm hired by the gravel and sand industry.

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