NPR launched a new series, Dollar Politics, today to look at the influence of money in the debate over three legislative items: financial regulation, energy policy, and health care. Today’s report focuses on health care, looking at the role of lobbyists in the effort to pass, or not, a health care reform bill.
Of particular interest in the piece is the packing of committee hearings by these lobbyists. One lobbyist is quoted explaining why lobbyists show up to the hearings, “[They] have friendships with various members of Congress or staff and hope to be seen. It’s a reminder that their interests are at play.” They may hope to be seen by senators and congressmen, but not in the way NPR had in mind. Dollar Politics turned the camera around on the lobbyists and put their pictures on line. NPR is seeking help in identifying potential lobbyists and you can see the pictures and send them information here.
This is a very important project and I hope to be following it (or waking up to these stories, as I did today) as they track influence around these important issues. Listen to the full report below: