Monday, November 16, 2009

Puppets On The Potomac

Stunningly outrageous though it was, the state Supreme Court's approval of new judicial ethics rules written by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and the Wisconsin Realtors Association allowing judges to rule on cases involving their biggest campaign contributors was hardly an isolated instance of ghostwriting by powerful interests for obedient public officials.

This from The New York Times:

"In the official record of the historic House debate on health care overhaul, the speeches of many lawmakers echo with similarities. Often, that was no accident.

Statements by more than a dozen lawmakers were ghostwritten, in whole or in part, by Washington lobbyists working for Genentech, one of the world's largest biotechnology companies.

E-mail messages obtained by The New York Times show that the lobbyists drafted one statement for Democrats and another for Republicans. The lobbyists, employed by Genentech and by two Washington law firms, were remarkably successful in getting the statements printed in the Congressional Record under the names of different members of Congress.

Genentech, a subsidiary of the Swiss drug giant Roche, estimates that 42 House members picked up some of its talking points - 22 Republicans and 20 Democrats, an unusual bipartisan coup for lobbyists."

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