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UnitedHealth Lobbyist Announces Pelosi Fundraiser As She Begins Backing Off Public Option

David Sirota

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the first time yesterday suggested she may be backing off her support of the public option. According to CNN,
Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid "said they would support
any provision that increases competition and accessibility for health
insurance - whether or not it is the public option favored by most Democrats."
When "asked if inclusion of a public option was a non-negotiable demand
- as her previous statements had indicated  Pelosi ruled out any
non-negotiable positions," according to CNN. This was also corroborated by the Associated Press, and by Pelosi's own words, as quoted in those stories.

This announcement came just hours before Steve Elmendorf, a registered UnitedHealth lobbyist
and the head of UnitedHealth's lobbying firm Elmendorf Strategies,
blasted this email invitation throughout Washington, D.C. I just
happened to get my hands on a copy of the invitation from a source -
check out this OpenLeft exclusive:

From: Steve Elmendorf []

Sent: Friday, September 11, 2009 8:31 AM

Subject: event with Speaker Pelosi at my home

You are cordially invited to a reception with

Speaker of the House

Nancy Pelosi

Thursday, September 24, 2009

6:30pm ~ 8:00pm

At the home of

Steve Elmendorf

2301 Connecticut Avenue, NW

Apt. 7B

Washington, D.C.

$5,000 PAC

$2,400 Individual

To RSVP or for additional information please contact

Carmela Clendening at (202) 485-3508 or

Steve Elmendorf            



900 7th Street NW Suite 750  Washington DC 20001

(202) 737-1655

Again, Elmendorf is a registered lobbyist for UnitedHealth, and his firm's website brags about its work for UnitedHealth on its website (Elmendorf was also a chief of staff for Democratic Minority Leader Dick Gephardt).

The sequencing here is important: Pelosi makes her announcement
and then just hours later, the fundraising invitation goes out.
Coincidental? I'm guessing no - these things rarely ever are.

I wrote a book a few years ago called Hostile Takeover
whose premise was that corruption and legalized bribery has become so
widespread that nobody in Washington even tries to hide it. This is
about as good an example of that truism as I've ever seen.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
David Sirota

David Sirota

David Sirota is a best-selling author whose books  "Back to Our Future" and "Hostile Takeover: How Big Money & Corruption Conquered Our Government--And How We Take It Back"  are available. He hosts the morning show on AM760 in Colorado and is a contributing writer at E-mail him at, follow him on Twitter @davidsirota or visit his website at

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