Watchdog Blog

Barry Sussman: Ask Baucus, Grassley and Others Why They Should Be Trusted

Posted at 2:41 pm, August 24th, 2009
Barry Sussman Mug

I’ve seen reports many times showing that Democratic Senator Max Baucus has received enormous sums of money from the drug and insurance industries but I haven’t seen any explanation from him as to why it’s okay to take it.

Has anyone been asking Baucus to explain what he did to deserve $1,500 a day from Jan. 1, 2003, to Dec. 31 last year from these groups? That kind of money adds up.

Has anyone been asking if he’s still taking money from them? It looks like he’s working hard on their behalf in creating legislation; are they still paying him?

Has anyone asked why the American people, or his home state Montanans, should trust him to come up with a health reform plan in their interest? Has anyone asked President Obama why he is endorsing Baucus by setting up joint events for the two of them?

Shouldn’t the press be asking these questions? And when reporters mention Baucus’s name in connection with health care reform, shouldn’t they point out each time that he is closely tied to the industry he is allegedly trying to regulate? In print it could be a footnote, or, if online, a link like this – Max Baucus – that lists his main campaign contributors.

It’s not only Baucus; the same questions and reminders apply to others in charge of legislating health care reform, including Senator Grassley of Iowa. The link for Grassley would show that the top five industries contributing to him are, according to the Center for Responsive Politics: health professionals, insurance, pharmaceuticals/health products, lobbyists and hospitals/nursing homes.

In Iowa, one recent column asked, “Is Chuck Grassley nuts?” The answer was yes, Grassley is losing it—but it doesn’t matter because he’s assured re-election next year anyway. He’s considered eccentric, so he can say and do anything he’d like. How convenient.

Comments are closed.

The website is no longer being updated. Watchdog stories have a new home in Nieman Reports.