Washington Lobbyists Cash in on Health Reform

For Immediate Release

Washington Lobbyists Cash in on Health Reform

Record Amount Spent Lobbying on a Single Issue, Experts Say

WASHINGTON - While
patients, taxpayers, and lawmakers debate the impact of the new health
care reform law, one result is clear: The epic battle was a bonanza for K
Street lobbyists.

The
Center for Public Integrity analysis of 2009 lobbyist disclosure data, "Washington Lobbying Giants Cash in on Health Reform
Debate
," shows the biggest winners, based on number of lobbying
clients, from health care reform. They are Patton Boggs LLP, Alston
& Bird LLP, Foley Hoag LLP, Podesta Group Inc., Capital Tax Partners
LLP, Holland & Knight LLP, Dutko Worldwide LLC, Drinker Biddle
& Reath LP, Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti Inc., Sonnenschein Nath &
Rosenthal LLP, Bryan Cave LLP, and Van Scoyoc Associates.

The
clients who hired these firms ranged from influential industry
associations to small non-profit advocacy groups. Some hired more than
one of the top firms to lobby for their interests. Pharmaceutical
Research and Manufacturers of America, for example, hired Capital Tax
Partners, Dutko, Mehlman, and 22 other outside firms, in addition to the
group's own in-house lobbyists. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. hired Patton
Boggs, Podesta Group, Mehlman, and Bryan Cave.

About
1,750 businesses and organizations hired about 4,525 lobbyists, total -
eight for each member of Congress - and spent at least $1.2 billion to
influence health care bills and other issues, according to a Center
analysis of disclosure documents that included "health reform" or
similar wording. The exact dollar amount spent on health care reform
remains unclear because lobbyists are not required to itemize how much
money in a given contract is devoted to a specific area. But if only 10
percent of that lobby spending went toward health reform, the amount
would total $120 million - and that's likely a record for a single
year's spending on a particular issue, experts say.

From
former congressional aides to former agency heads, the firms unleashed
well-connected lobbyists to push their clients' agendas, including
Thomas Scully, a former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and
Medicaid Services under President George W. Bush, and Colette Desmarais,
a former top health policy aide to Republican Sen. Chuck
Grassley. Scully is now a lobbyist with Alston & Bird LLP and
Desmarais works for Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti Inc.

The
tremendous financial boost that health reform brought to lobby firms in
2009 was greater than even veteran observers expected. "I think it is
unprecedented," Washington lawyer and lobbying expert Ken Gross said
about the amount of money spent on the health reform battle. The length
of the debate, paired with the more than 1,750 business and
organizations that signed up to lobby on health reform bills, likely
made it the strongest and most expensive lobby push ever, he said.

"First
of all, it went on for so long," Gross said. "Second of all, it was
high-stakes poker. It stands to reason that it would be a
record-breaker."

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The Center for Public Integrity is a nonprofit organization dedicated to producing original, responsible investigative journalism on issues of public concern. The Center is non-partisan and non-advocacy. We are committed to transparent and comprehensive reporting both in the United States and around the world.

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