Lobbying Power: Another Reason Insurance Exchanges Fail to Control Cost

By: Tuesday April 2, 2013 10:20 am

Private health insurance exchanges, like those created by the Affordable Care Act or in Medicare Advantage, have historically failed to control costs. Part of the reason is the basic economic issue of individuals lacking real market power and actually choosing the “best” insurance option, which is extremely complicated. Another problem is lobbying related. Whenever you needlessly create private middlemen you also create another layer of lobbyists.

 

Chris Stewart, Climate Science Denier, Now Chair of Congressional Climate Change Science Committee

By: Thursday March 21, 2013 4:15 pm

Chris Stewart, a Republican from Utah, was recently appointed Chair of the House subcommittee on Science.

This means that Congressman Stewart now has dominion over the EPA, climate change research, and “all activities related to climate.”

Was State Senator Rubio (CA) Auditioning for Job at Chevron?

By: Tuesday February 26, 2013 1:15 pm

The power of the petroleum industry in California may be unparalleled in the states. Its lobbying machine is stupendously successful. For instance, California remains the only significant oil producer that does not tax oil extracted in the state. It has very weak–perhaps the weakest–regulation of oil and gas extraction, particularly hydraulic fracturing of deep deposits, known as “fracking.” State environmental laws are under constant attack.

Dear Red Wing Republican Eagle: RE: Dennis Egan and Lynching…

By: Saturday February 23, 2013 8:00 pm

There was a bit of controversy in southeastern Minnesota recently when it was discovered that Dennis Egan, the newly re-elected mayor of the City of Red Wing, had taken a job as a lobbyist for a recently-organized lobbying group backing frac sand mining. As Greater Minnesota chronicler Sally Jo Sorensen notes, this was such a boneheadedly unethical move that even the pro-mining Winona Daily News asked “What was he thinking?” (My guess is that he figured that, since his being a career lobbyist for firms with Republican ties, a lobbyist so dedicated to his trade that he started and ran his own lobbying firm, hadn’t apparently set off any alarm bells for the voters of Red Wing, he could get away with having as another boss an entity determined to turn the beautiful bluffs of Red Wing and environs into huge sand mining sites.)

Big Pushback Against Frac Sand (and Lobbyist Mayor) in Minnesota

By: Saturday February 9, 2013 10:00 am

The actual act of fracking isn’t the only controversial part of the fracking process. Mining the sand needed for fracking has its own problems, as Red Wing, Minnesota mayor and frac sand mining lobbyist Dennis Egan is discovering.

Corporate Interests Influencing State Legislators via National Conference of State Legislatures

By: Tuesday December 18, 2012 7:22 pm

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) describes itself as “a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the nation’s 50 states, its commonwealths and territories. NCSL provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues.”

Affiliated with NCSL, is the NCSL Foundation which was created by NCSL as a “nonprofit tax-exempt 501(c)(3) corporation that offers opportunities for businesses, national associations, nonprofit organizations and unions seeking to improve the state legislative process and enhance NCSL’s services to all legislatures.”

While the descriptions sound benign, the access to legislators NCSL and the NCSL Foundation provide to fossil fuel interests and other corporate “sponsors” sounds a lot like lobbying.

The Tech World Gets a New Trade Association, Or “How to Read a DC Press Release”

By: Friday September 21, 2012 9:55 am

Some tech reporters rightly noted that with the formation of the Internet Association, it looks like Google is getting the SOPA band back together again. But nobody asked the rather obvious question: why an industry that spent $129 million on lobbying in 2011 needed yet another lobbing shop, especially when the Net Coalition already exists.

Ahem. Allow Bytegeist to read the tea leaves.

Financial Services Industry Threatens Retaliation at Municipalities Who Use Eminent Domain to Fix the Housing Crisis

By: Friday July 20, 2012 9:41 am

The financial industry is taking another run at a plan to help homeowners, this time the proposed program in San Bernardino County that would use eminent domain laws to acquire underwater mortgages and then refinance them for borrowers at market rates. The financial services lobbying group SIFMA said they would exclude mortgages in San Bernardino and other localities that engaged in this tactic

A Glimpse Inside the Private Prison Industry’s Influence in Florida

By: Friday June 29, 2012 1:32 pm

Florida’s leadership is among the most aggressive in the nation in trying to bring private prisons to the state. The governor, speaker of the house, former speaker of the house, and a host of Republicans in the legislature repeatedly attempted to force through what would have been the largest wholesale privatization of prisons in US history.

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