Friday, September 03, 2010

In Bed with the Devil - The White House and Special Interests


Rahm Emanuel, Obama's fiery tongued Chief of Staff, was recruited into the president's inner sanctum because of his Wall Street connections and his ruthless negotiating skills and in the first two years his success at extracting money from special interests was near legendary.

As a result the Obama administration became the most expensive money could buy shattering campaign spending records, nearly a billion dollar cost to get elected, and shaking down corporate and special interests after getting elected at a pace never seen in our nation's capitol before.

From the Wall Street bankers to health care industries the special interest money poured into campaign coffers after the election and most went to the Democrat majority controlling the business of our nation the Obama, Pelosi, Reid and Democratic party campaign committees. In fact, the federal lobbyists in 2009 spent the following money lobbying our government officials and feeding campaign funds.

Open - Center for Responsive Government

2009 Expenditures

Pharmaceutical/Health Care - $267,853,947
Business Associations - $183,498,730
Oil & Gas - $175,079,824
Insurance - $164,411,830
Electric Utilities - $145,691,753
Computers/Internet - $119,370,418
Misc Manufacturing & Distribution - $110,769,964
Hospitals/Nursing Homes - $107,892,681
TV/Movies/Music - $107,496,953
Education - $99,816,801
Securities & Investment - $94,135,458
Health Professionals - $84,284,513
Air Transport - $83,876,931
Civil Servants/Public Officials - $83,861,329
Health Services/HMOs - $74,234,045

Of course the two major legislative bills pushed by Obama were health care reform and financial reform, both of which were managed by Emanuel and passed this year. Deals were made between Rahm and the pharmaceutical boys with details yet to be disclosed. If we add the total health spending lobbying in 2009 to the spending in the first half of 2010 we see $1 billion was spent by the industry to get what they wanted.

A similar astounding spending spree went into financial reform by the business community as the total 2009 and 2010 spending totaled $472 million to get a watered down financial reform bill. Industry by industry the Obama administration, who pledged to get rid of special interest influence in Washington, set records in sucking money into the campaign coffers.

The payoff to the lobbyists can be equally staggering. The pharma companies were able to increase the cost of major drugs by over 8% last year while the inflation rate for America was under 1% yet there was no outcry on behalf of the people by the White House or Obama people. And as for Wall Street, the administration complained of the billions of dollars in executive bonuses yet did nothing to stop them.

Money controls our nation's capitol and the Obama administration played politics as usual better than anyone in history. This fall the people of America have the chance to rate the performance of the Obama and Democratic majority and the outcome will not be pretty.

Perhaps, the outsiders and new faces can get in office and start the road to recovery with meaningful campaign reform and limitations on the ability of special interests to buy our government.


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