Health Insurers Funding Secretive Attack Group Run By A Prominent GOP Lobbyist

Health insurance companies, after funding tens of millions of dollars in attack ads aimed to kill health reform, are now funding Republican candidates promising to repeal or water-down the bill. A report today notes that insurance companies have massively shifted their campaign giving to Republicans, and that health professionals have “quietly become the biggest supporters of the nascent Tea Party Caucus” with donations of “more than $2.7 million to Tea Party Caucus members.” Additionally, a report today by the Center for Public Integrity republished by National Journal reveals that veteran Republican lobbyist Scott Reed has stepped up to create a $25 million dollar front group to run ads against Democrats, and that it will be funded partially by insurance companies:

Meanwhile, lobbyist Reed’s fledgling Commission on Hope, Growth and Opportunity, a 501 (c) (4) raised over half its $25 million goal to run ads in 20 House districts and a few Senate contests, Reed says. Where’s the dough coming from? “The big three stepping into the batter’s box are the financial services industry, the energy industry, and the health insurance industry,” Reed said.

Reed credits the recent Supreme Court ruling knocking down nearly a century of campaign finance laws with the increased fundraising haul for Republican attack groups. “Citizens United opened the door for the unparalleled participation by corporations at the financial level,” Reed told reporter Peter Stone. Earlier this year, Bloomberg reported that the health insurance industry met and planned a $20 million dollar “war chest” to be used against its opponents during the election this year. It is still unclear if Reed’s group or the Tea Party caucus donations are part of that fund.



Commenting on news that in this year’s campaign season, interest groups are spending five times as much as they did on the last midterms — thanks to Citizens United — Mother Jones’ Kevin Drum points to more on “the tidal wave of money in politics.”