Congressional Lawmakers “Invested” in Health Reform Debate

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Yesterday afternoon, the Center for Responsive Politics came out with a report showing how many congressional lawmakers have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars of their own money into companies that have financial stakes in which bills eventually pass and become law. CRP has found many lawmakers are heavily invested in pharmaceutical and health insurance companies, industries that are very interested in what Congress does to health care. Nearly one in four lawmakers had invested some money in health companies during 2007, the most recent year CRP calculated lawmakers’ extensive personal finances. (In October, data for 2008 will be available in their personal financial disclosure database). Because lawmakers report the value of their assets in ranges, CRP can’t give exact figures. With that said, lawmakers had invested somewhere between $44.2 million and $93.9 million in health care related companies.

CRP looked closer at some of the key lawmakers who serve on the five committees that will have the most impact on the health legislation as it works through the Congress. Here’s what they found: In 2007, 54 current lawmakers serving on these committees had between $31 million and $57.9 million invested in health companies.

They quote Charles Silver, a University of Texas law professor who focuses on health care policy, saying that such investments in the past have shaped congressional debates, along with campaign contributions and the revolving door between the public and private sectors. CRP took a closer look at the investments of six of those lawmakers and asked their staff if they saw any conflict of interest. Check it out their responses here.

And if you want to see the health money going into the Senate health committee. Sunlight’s new beta — Congrelate.com — makes that easy. Check it out

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