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Daschle Got Millions Lobbying Health Biz

Some honest to goodness investigative reporting from the Politico:

Daschle made $5m; health groups paid $220k

Daschle made $5m in last 2 years

By: Kenneth P. Vogel
January 30, 2009

Tom Daschle, under fire for not paying taxes, made nearly $5.3 million in the last two years, records released Friday show.

Daschle, the former Senate Democratic leader who President Obama has tapped to overhaul the nation’s healthcare system, was paid $220,000 to give speeches to outfits that have a vested interest in the result the work he would do once confirmed as Secretary of Health and Human Services

For instance, the Health Industry Distributors Association plunked down $14,000 to land the former Senate Democratic Leader in March 2008. The association, which represents medical products distributors, boasts on its website that Daschle met with it after he was nominated to discuss “the impact an Obama administration will have on the industry.”

This week, the group began openly lobbying him, sending him a letter urging him to rescind a rule requiring competitive bidding of Medicare contracts

Another organization, America’s Health Insurance Plans, paid $20,000 for a Daschle speaking appearance in February 2007. It represents health insurance companies, which under Obama’s plan would be barred from denying coverage on the basis of health or age.

There was a $12,000 talk to GE Healthcare in August, a $20,000 lecture in January to Premier, Inc., a health care consulting firm, and a pair of $18,000 speeches this year to different hospital systems, among other paid appearances before healthcare groups.

The speaking fees were detailed in a financial disclosure statement released Friday, which showed that Daschle pulled down a total of more than $500,000 from the speaking circuit in the last two years, and $5.3 million in overall income.

That includes more than $2 million in consulting fees from InterMedia Advisors, a private equity firm

He also became an adviser to the law and lobbying firm Alston & Bird, which paid him $2.1 million in wages last year and also provided him a 401k and profit sharing plan worth between $100,000 and $250,000, according to the report.

In his three years at the firm, it’s earned more than $16 million lobbying on behalf of some of the health care industry’s most powerful interests before the department he’s in line to lead. Though Daschle, himself, did not register to lobby for the firm, he has advised the firm’s clients on health care issues, according to the firm’s website.

His disclosure indicates he provided “policy advice” to such clients as United Health, AT&T and the politically connected consulting shop Glover Park Group.

After leaving the Senate, Daschle also landed a host of lucrative board spots, including with the energy giant BP Corporation, which paid him $250,000 in fees, developer CB Richard Ellis, which paid $121,000, and ethanol processor Mascoma Corporation, which paid him $75,000, according to the disclosure.

It shows that Daschle has hundreds of thousands of dollars in stocks and options from CB Richard Ellis and Mascoma, though he indicated he forfeited his unvested stock options and wrote that “if confirmed, I will divest my vested stock options with CB Richard Ellis.”

He reported owning homes worth as much as $250,000 each in Aberdeen, S.D. and Altus, Okla. with his wife, a high-powered lobbyist for Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz

Funny how all of this kind of news always comes out on the weekends, isn’t it?

Of course it really should be no surprise, coming from Mr. Daschle, who is as sleazy as they come.

But what does Mr. Daschle know about anything that would justify his receiving millions of dollars in “consulting fees”?

Aren’t these the kinds of excessive remunerations that Mr. Obama has so publically denounced of late?

And hasn’t the Anointed One also denounced lobbyists and declared he would have nothing to do with them in his administration?

Moreover, why does Mr. Daschle even want another government job? Hasn’t he stolen enough?

Shouldn’t there be some limits?

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, January 31st, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

12 Responses to “Daschle Got Millions Lobbying Health Biz”

  1. clifcrds says:

    Well knock me over with a feather . . . Obama campaigned on lessening lobbyist influence in government BUT is now going back on his word? I am sure all you busy bees will say “I’m shocked!” BUT you probably don’t realize the worst of it. Daschle doesn’t just have a lobbyist past, he and his wife were both in on the gravy train . . . a gravy train that was playing quid pro quo politics when our country needed security.

    Let’s take a look at something the drive by media (surprise) failed to report 6 years ago:

    I’m Linda, Fly Me
    The real reason Tom Daschle didn’t run for president

    Doug Ireland
    Published on January 23, 2003

    The national press corps didn‘t bother to tell you why Tom Daschle, the Democrats’ Senate leader, decided at the 11th hour not to run for president: In the end, he calculated that he couldn‘t survive scrutiny of his persistent service to the clients of his wife. Linda Daschle has been one of the airline industry’s top lobbyists for two decades — when she wasn‘t busy running the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which explains why, just 11 days after the 911 attacks, her husband rushed through the Democratic Senate, which he controlled, the $15 billion bailout for the airline industry, a notorious taxpayer rip-off.

    Right after then-Congressman Tom Daschle dumped his first wife for a younger, prettier one, the former Miss Kansas Linda Daschle went to work as chief lobbyist for the Air Transport Association, the airline industry’s main lobby; she then became the senior vice president of the American Association of Airport Executives; and these days hangs her hat at the pricey top Washington lawlobby shop Baker, Donelson, Bearman & Caldwell, headed by former GOP Senate leader and ex–Reagan chief of staff Howard Baker — where she peddles influence on behalf of a long list of lucrative aviation clients. The clients for whom Linda lobbied brought more than $5.86 million into Baker, Donelson in one three-year period, including Northwest Airlines ($870,000 from 1997 through 2001) and American Airlines ($1.26 million in fees). Northwest was already teetering on the edge of bankruptcy even before 911. American, which has had six fatal crashes since 1994 (not counting 911) and has been repeatedly fined by the FAA for a skein of safety violations, had the reputation as the most unsafe major U.S. carrier.

    Yet these two clients of Linda Daschle‘s got nearly $1 billion from the airline bailout her husband pushed into law — thanks to which Northwest (which was the second largest contributor to Senator Daschle’s 1998 campaign, and which scooped up $404 million in government cash) actually posted a $19 million profit in the third quarter after the twin-towers attacks. And, as the lone senator to vote against the bailout, Illinois GOPer Peter Fitzgerald, decried, “The only people who got bailed out were the shareholders. The 1 million airline employees were left twisting in the wind.” So much for the populist noises that occasionally come from Senator Daschle‘s mouth. The Daschles also made sure that the bailout exempted American (which has consistently lobbied against tougher airline safety standards) and other carriers with lousy safety records from any real liability to lawsuits from the families of 911 victims. Moreover, the General Accounting Office found that the airline industry’s representations to Congress to secure the bailout overstated its anticipated losses from 911 by as much as $5 billion.

    Before 911, Senator Daschle pushed through the sleazy deal in the backrooms of Capitol Hill that forced the FAA to buy defective baggage scanners from one of Linda‘s other clients, L-3 International (from which Linda’s firm raked in $440,000 in the ‘97–’01 period). Under a provision Linda‘s husband had slipped into the 2000 budget for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the FAA was required to buy one of L-3’s scanners for every one it purchased from the company‘s competitors. The L-3 scanners were found to be substandard by DOT’s inspector general; FAA tests of the scanners showed high failure rates; and most have not yet been installed because of their defects (the one at the Dallas–Fort Worth airport — another of Linda‘s clients — leaked radiation), which is a major reason DOT says it won’t be able to screen all luggage for explosives for years to come.

    In one of those corporate-coddling moves for which the Clinton administration became infamous, President Bubba appointed Linda Daschle deputy administrator of the FAA, putting her in charge of regulating her once-and-future clients; and she wound up running the agency as acting administrator. This, of course, significantly boosted the Daschle family income by hyping the amount Linda could charge her clients when she left government service. She didn‘t wait long to cash in. Example: While running the FAA, she awarded Loral Space Technologies (a major Democratic contributor that figured in the ’96 campaign-finance scandals) a nearly $1 billion contract from the federal government; after Linda passed through the revolving door to Baker, Donelson, Loral paid the lobby shop $740,000 in 2000-2001 for Linda‘s services. When the FAA was pondering making mandatory a criminal-background check for all airport employees, Linda, who was then running the agency, vigorously opposed this common-sense move — echoing the position of the airline-industry lobby that had previously employed her.

    A particularly odiferous episode involved charges that the senator and his wife had tried to sabotage safety inspections of an air-charter firm owned by Murl Bellew, a Daschle family friend who taught Tom how to fly. The scandal erupted and triggered an official investigation when a Bellew small plane chartered by the Indian Health Service crashed in North Dakota, killing the pilot and three doctors en route to an Indian-reservation clinic. Forest Service inspectors had been arguing that Bellew’s firm should be banned from getting government contracts because the operation had been unsafe for years. Senator Daschle obligingly pushed legislation taking the Forest Service out of the business of inspecting small-plane carriers, and senior FAA bureaucrats said Linda had also tried to submarine a proposal to train Forest Service inspectors to conduct FAA investigations. An FAA inspector reported a cover-up: Documents showing the Daschles‘ assiduous efforts to minimize inspections of Bellew’s planes were shredded by FAA officials under Linda‘s thumb. While an I.G. report failed to find Linda guilty of any lawbreaking, there’s an old saying in Washington: The scandal isn‘t what’s illegal, the real scandal is what‘s legal.

    It’s a sign of how lazy, blinkered and source-coddling the Beltway‘s national press corps is when one considers that none of all this made the dissections of the senator’s presidential withdrawal — even though a tough piece by the Washington Monthly‘s Stephanie Mencimer in the January 2002 issue laying out much of it was still on newsstands. As she observed, “It doesn’t take Lee Atwater to see how Mrs. Daschle‘s professional life might play out in a nasty re-election or presidential campaign: ’Sen. Daschle‘s wife lobbyist for nation’s most dangerous airline,‘ or ’majority leader‘s wife lobbied to make airlines less safe.’”

    Linda Daschle has tried to pooh-pooh her obvious conflicts of interest as an influence peddler, telling The New York Times last August that the staff members she lobbies “are pretty junior and may or may not know who I am” — a mind-boggling, risible assertion. But her senatorleader husband has always refused to make public his and his wife‘s tax returns, despite repeated press requests. As a presidential candidate, Tom Daschle could not have avoided giving the press a look at those returns — which would have spelled out just how much cash Linda brings in from her clients.

    And that, children, was the ticking time bomb that would inevitably have exploded if the senator had sought the White House — and is the bottom-line reason he chose not to run.

    What is the old saying . . . “Insanity is constantly trying failed policies and expecting different outcomes.”

    Yes . . . and with a trillion dollars of taxpayers money being spent on Commiecratic vote buying schemes, while cutting defense spending, and reaching out to those that want us dead, I feel like this is 1992 all over again. Now we just sit back and wait for the next 9/11 to happen!

    • GuppyNblue says:

      Thanks for posting that clifcrd and how very interesting. I wouldn’t have showered this morning if I knew how profitable being dirty is.

    • retire05 says:

      It seems like Tom Dashle has written a book about health care. Mark Levin reviewed the book a couple of month’s ago and went off on Dashle like a nuclear bomb. He read parts of Dashle’s book where Dashle was advocating government health care and making it affordable by denying certain tests that your doctor thinks necessary IF a review board decides otherwise. Things like my cardiologist just ordered me to have, a nuclear stress test.

      This clown is pure socialist, as long as it doesn’t interfer with him earning millions.

    • proreason says:

      “This clown is pure socialist, as long as it doesn’t interfer with him earning millions.”

      You nailed it retire05. The Hollywood gazillionaires, bill gates, warren buffet, the kerry’s, the kennedy’s, daschel, geistner, rangel, and on and on, cheat and game the system to make millions, even billions.

      But for the rest of us serfs who actually have to work to feed our families, taxes are 25-35% + 15% for Social Security, plus real estate taxes, plus sales taxes, plus gas taxes, plus corporate taxes built into everything we buy. For us, taxes are our “patriotic duty”.

      Yet morons continue to elect these guys for a $500 tax credit for sitting on their asses. This is why the Daschel’s of the world have rigged the tax system so that 50% of the public pays no taxes, the Daschels pay laughable %’s, and the rest of us pay for the government boondoggles that line the Daschels’ pockets. And the boondoggles, at best, are 30% waste. Most are not only worthless, but actually harm the country.

      Why anybody who pays a dime of taxes would vote for the crooks is a mystery to me.

  2. proreason says:

    tsk, tsk. This is the GOOD kind of lobbying, of course.

  3. greasywrench says:

    Is it pronounced Daschle or Douchele?

  4. U NO HOO says:

    I thought Tom DeLay and Newt Gingrich were supposed to be the scum of the earth?

  5. jrmcdonald says:

    Here’s an idea. Have all ‘Public’ employees with a net worth of 2+ million dollars not collect pay and benefits from the American people. John Kennedy gave up his pay as a meassure of his good will. If Mr. Obama wants to be a person of substance, and not just another politician, he should follow Kennedy’s fine example for himself and his cabinet.

  6. AmericanIPA says:

    You’re not a crook until Olberman, Matthews, and John Stewart say you are. After eight years of constantly being told what a crooked administration George Bush was leading, it has taken less than two weeks for Obama’s to actually produce REAL crooks. Of course, they will all be renounced by the “unbiased” media and forfeit their jobs.

  7. BillK says:

    It’s clear why Daschle wants a Government job – after Obama’s done it will be the only employer left, and it’s best to get in now.

  8. U NO HOO says:

    “Things like my cardiologist just ordered me to have, a nuclear stress test.”

    Me too, but I’ll wait til my insurance is straightened out, so far two pills a day calms my heart down, don’t want to live forever.

    Will medicare cover nuclear stress tests?

  9. U NO HOO says:

    Daschle, Rangel, Geithner, Mrs. Conyers,…stink on ice and..never mind…

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