This past weekend Sen. Max Baucus' political action committee (PAC) hosted a three-day retreat fundraising event at the Big Sky Resort with "fly-fishing in three nearby rivers, golfing on an Arnold Palmer-designed course, horseback riding and hiking, family fun and gorgeous scenery." The entrance fee for the event was $2,500 per individual and $5,000 for a PAC. While the roster of interest groups, lobbyists and other individuals in attendance is unknown at this time, we do know who was a no-show: Max Baucus.
According to the National Journal's Under the Influence blog, Sen. Baucus announced his intention to avoid the event before the fundraiser commenced to "tend to faltering bipartisan negotiations over health care reform legislation." The senator will not only be missing those who want his ear on a variety of issues coming before his powerful committee -- cap and trade and health care -- he'll also be missing a protest held by advocates for single payer health care.
Despite missing this fundraiser, the Montana senator's Glacier PAC has already pulled in large sums of money from the health and insurance sector and lobbyists representing both sectors. Since January, Baucus' Glacier PAC has raised $99,500 from health and insurance PACs and lobbyists representing health and insurance organizations. This represents one-third of all contributions to Glacier PAC this year.
Many of these contributions were filed with his committee in the days soon after other fundraising weekends in the mountains of Montana. Over the weekend of February 6, Baucus hosted his Eigth Annual Ski and Snow Mobile Weekend, a fundraising weekend get-away much like the July 31-Aug 2 event that Baucus skipped. Contributions that were filed on February 16 include four health care PACs and two lobbyists for health care companies. The PACs included National Emergency Medicine PAC, Sanofi-Pasteur, American College of Cardiology and American College of Radiology Association. Three out of these four PACs contributed the maximum $5,000 with Sanofi-Pasteur contributing $2,500. The lobbyists included Tracy Spicer (Aetna, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Bravo Health, Healthcare Leadership Council, Heritage Services, Medco, National Health Policy Group, Travelers Companies, UnitedHealth Group) and William Oldaker (Adventist Health Systems, Healthcare Quality Strategies, Intermountain Health Care, Iowa Foundation for Medical Care, IPRO, Lumetra, Mpro, Ohio KePRO, Parexel International, TMF Health Quality Institute, West Virginia Medical Institute).
Contributors to Sen. Baucus' Glacier PAC also include some of his former staffers now lobbying for health care organizations. These include former chief of staff David Castagnetti ($3,000), Nick Giordano ($1,000) and Roger Blauwet ($2,500). Castagnetti represents a wide array of health care companies including America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), American College of Cardiologists, Abbott Laboratories, AstraZeneca, Proctor & Gamble and Merck. Blauwet represents Merck, Wyeth, Rx Benefits Coalition and the Association of Financial Guaranty Insurers. Giordano is listed in reports as representing Covidien, Health Care Service Corporation, Johnson & Johnson, McKesson Corporation, Milliman Care Guidelines and the National Association of Public Hospitals. Many of these organizations have also made PAC contributions to the senator's Glacier PAC.
While Sen. Baucus has promised not to accept any more contributions from health care PACs, he is still willing to accept contributions from their lobbyists and executives. It will be interesting to see who showed up at the senator's big summer weekend getaway, even if the senator didn't make it there himself.
Full list of health and insurance PAC and lobbyist contributions below:
Glacier PAC Contributions 2009 (Health and Insurance PACs and Lobbyists):
|American Society of Anesthesiologists||$5,000.00||01/05/09|
|National Emergency Medicine||$5,000.00||02/16/09|
|American College of Cardiology||$5,000.00||02/16/09|
|American College of Radiology Association||$5,000.00||02/16/09|
|Pacific Pulmonary Services||$5,000.00||03/09/09|
|Boston Scientific Corp||$5,000.00||03/31/09|
|American Podiatric Medical Association||$5,000.00||04/27/09|
|College of American Pathologists||$5,000.00||04/27/09|
|American Dental PAC||$1,000.00||05/01/09|
|American Chiropractic Association||$2,500.00||05/08/09|
|Independent Insurance Agents of America||$5,000.00||06/30/09|
|J Curtis Rich||$1,000.00||03/09/09|