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This Week In Tarbell
Happy Fourth of July!
I considered taking a break from the newsletter today for the holiday, but then again: what could be better way to celebrate Independence Day than with an independent press!
First up: Tarbell is back with another Maplight collaboration, looking at how lobbyist groups have harnessed top influencers to support their issues through highly-paid speaking gigs.
Don’t forget to check out Maplight too! We will be working with their talented team of reporters more in the future.
We are also sharing a post from Faith In Healthcare: a former Eli Lilly & Co. employee divulges the drug manufacturer’s history with drug pricing, in order to understand how they could possibly get away with raising insulin prices from $21 to as much as $275 per vial.
Finally, Trudy Lieberman returns this week aiming to start a conversation about the hidden costs of elderly and long-term care on the people who manage their needs, and considering the ways that the U.S. health system could better support caregivers.
Notable Reporting and Solutions
The first “Medicare for All” bill, pitched by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash), has already attracted a storm of anti-M4A lobbying from more than 33 organizations, The Hill reports. For perspective, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has spent $22.3 million alone lobbying against the bill.
The merger between the Sanford Health and UnityPoint Health systems could create one of the largest hospital monopolies, spanning 26 states and $11 billion in combined operating revenue.
The Trump administration lifted bans on the cellphone company Huawei, but this suspiciously follows a multimillion-dollar lobbying campaign on the part of the company and other chip manufacturers, according to a Center for Responsive Politics analysis.
The consulting firm McKinsey was brought into U.S. intelligence agencies to restructure them and improve efficiency. Instead, the contract that reportedly exceeded $10 million has only made a mess of the spying bureaucracy and left the U.S. more vulnerable to counterintelligence.
The National Rifle Association has been one of the biggest mobilizing forces behind winning Republican candidates, and President Trump is no succession. But with the gun ownership organization’s leaders in turmoil, Trump’s reelection team is starting to sweat.
With so many Democratic candidates vying for the primary nomination, it’s likely that superdelegates (who aren’t elected by voters and constitute a wide range of party elders and consultants) will play a role in choosing the final Democratic nominee. The Intercept this week considers how involving superdelegates could easily inject outside influence into the nomination process.
Watchdogs can’t pinpoint exactly why the Food and Drug Administration is issuing far fewer compliance and enforcement letters as they had in the past, but Science Magazine reports a major decline in enforcement under the FDA. (And no, you’re not having deja vu: enforcement actions also reportedly dropped under the Trump administration’s EPA).
When a Ukrainian-Russian developer wanted to secure more investments from the U.S., he got in touch with none other than Rudy Giuliani, whom he referred to as a “lobbyist.” Maybe this is just a slip of the tongue, but it underscores Democrats concerns that Giuliani lobbied as a foreign agent for the Trump administration without proper registration.
Second quarter campaign finance records are in, and Democratic Senate 2020 candidates seemed to cash in: seven candidates reported contributions greater than $1 million, shattering past records this early in the game.
Is there a negative side effect to the surge of Democratic presidential candidates – and the embrace of “No Corporate PAC” campaigns? Check your inbox: 2020 candidates are running increasingly desperate-sounding email campaigns to capture your voting dollars – and it seems to be working for many of them.
Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Cory Booker returned a donation from a pharmaceutical company executive. But he reportedly returned it after being notified by a reporter: the Senator from New Jersey is known for accepting health industry money.
Spotlight on Local Reporting
The real force that pushed Oregon’s Republican state senators to walk out of a climate change legislation hearing was their deep-pocketed friends: corporations and interest groups have been lobbying fiercely against a “cap and invest” deal that would boost the state’s green energy and lower carbon emissions levels, and legislators would do anything not to break that flow of cash.
New Jersey‘s Rep. Donald Norcross is now defending himself and his connections to Holtec International, a nuclear company that has applied for tremendous tax breaks while donating generously to Norcross’s campaign.
Iowa’s Polk County said its $720,000 annual contract with lobbying firm Federal Advocates has paid off through its assistance in accessing $43 million in federal grants. However, the lobbying firm’s chief task has been retaining the nonprofit status of a racetrack/casino.
Student loan servicers are paying their CEOs and lobbyists big bucks in order prevent state protections for Pennsylvania students and maintain a strong influence in Washington, the Philadelphia Inquirer found.
Even though Oklahoma lawmakers are trying to reduce the vast amount of lobbying in the states, lobbying for 2019 already exceeds last year’s rate by 34 percent.