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Tag Archive: Pharmaceutical Industry

Computer Glitch Prevents Searching for Individual Lobbyist Names

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In the Senate the lobbying data is maintained by the Senate Office of Public Records (SOPR) which currently enters the lobbyist disclosure reports filed on paper into a database. Did you know -- I just learned this -- that electronic disclosure has been required for lobbyist reports since 1995, but still hasn't been fully implemented?! An apparent glitch in SOPR's computer system is currently preventing the public from searching for individual lobbyists, as well as for issues that interests have reported lobbying on in 2007. How beyond ridiculous is this?

It's absurd because whether the Democrats or the GOP control Congress, lobbyists often set the table. Industry lobbyists make sure that their clients' interests are tended to, no matter who runs the Congress. The Center for Responsive Politics analyzed reports filed last month and found lobbyists spending has topped $1.24 billion in the first six months of this year. For perspective, lobbyists spend a record amount of $2.61 billion throughout 2006. CRP's analysis found:

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60 Minutes Covers Lobbyist Influence

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Perhaps the greatest convergance of corrupt activities in Washington over the past few years occurred during the debate and passage of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003. The story in a nutshell is that lobbyists wrote a one thousand page bill that was introduced hours before congressmen voted on it. The vote was then held open for three hours - the longest vote in the history of the House of Representatives - instead of the normal and required 15 minutes. During the open vote the Republican majority twisted arms and used threats and bribes to gain votes for the bill. (Later, Tom DeLay and other Republican congressmen would be admonished by the Ethics Committee for their actions.) When the bill was passed and signed by the President all of the main actors who helped pass the bill went to work for the pharmaceutical industry. Last night 60 Minutes did a great job covering this story. Crooks & Liars has the 60 Minutes footage:

Here's a direct Windows Media Player link.

Here's a direct Quicktime Link.

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