Group Coordinating With Van Hollen on Health Reform Suit Funded by Health Insurance Industry

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The Republican State Leadership Committee, the 527 group that coordinated with Republican Wisconsin Attorney General JB Van Hollen, is largely funded by the health insurance and big pharmaceutical industries.

Records show the RSLC has taken millions of dollars in political donations from the health insurance and pharmaceutical corporations, including the American Tort Reform Association. Below is data from OpenSecrets.org, which lists the top 20 funders to the RSLC in each of the last four reporting cycles.

2010
$150,861 | Pharmaceutical Rsrch & Mfrs Of America
$140,562 | Novartis AG
$100,970 | Eli Lilly & Co
$ 91,068 | Blue Cross/Blue Shield
$ 82,570 | AstraZeneca PLC
$ 80,823 | Allergan Inc
$ 80,500 | Anthem Insurance
$ 75,000 | Pfizer Inc

2008
$358,071 | Pfizer Inc
$335,339 | Pharmaceutical Rsrch & Mfrs Of America
$330,908 | Eli Lilly & Co
$305,000 | American Tort Reform Assn
$192,735 | Blue Cross/Blue Shield
$166,537 | GlaxoSmithKline

2006
$620,300 | American Tort Reform Assn
$466,995 | Pharmaceutical Rsrch & Mfrs Of America
$283,250 | Pfizer Inc
$182,808 | GlaxoSmithKline
$182,500 | Novartis Pharmaceuticals
$170,500 | Blue Cross/Blue Shield

2004
$565,000 | American Tort Reform Assn$
$216,750 | Beverly Enterprises
$185,000 | Pharmaceutical Rsrch & Mfrs Of America
$183,525 | Pfizer Inc

[Open Secrets]

Additionally, among the largest contributors to the RSLC is the American Justice Partnership, created by the National Association of Manufacturers. The American Justice Partnership has donated $2 million to RSLC since 2006 and its website features advertisements run by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce against Kathleen Falk in 2006, Van Hollen’s opponent. WMC spent an estimated $2.5 million in Van Hollen’s razor-thin victory. The page, also featuring WMC ads for pro-corporate Supreme Court Justices Mike Gableman and Annette Ziegler, is available at: http://americanjusticepartnership.com/partners.php

[Virginia Public Access Project]

So it’s pretty apparent why the RSLC is at the forefront of a national Republican effort to stop health reform. But what’s most troubling is the coordination with and political contributions to Republican Attorneys General.

In Wisconsin, it was revealed through email communications obtained by One Wisconsin Now that the top deputy to Van Hollen and Van Hollen’s political campaign manager were in on the RSLC-coordinated effort to stop health reform [One Wisconsin Now]. In June 2009 Van Hollen’s political campaign received $10,000 from the RSLC [One Wisconsin Now].

In Pennsylvania, it was revealed that “Attorney General Tom Corbett was in communication with a consultant for the Republican State Leadership Committee before he decided to join a lawsuit challenging the landmark health care reform package signed into law in March.” [Keystone Progress]

Other states with Attorneys General in on the RSLC-coordinated effort include Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington.

For more information on RSLC political contributions to these Attorney General, see Crooks and Liars.

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Cody currently oversees online communications, web development, and graphic design at One Wisconsin Now & the Institute, having served previously as Deputy Research Director.