Hillary’s Best Bundlers Lobby For Big Pharma, Private Prisons, And Anti-Obamacare Health Insurers

Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
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Two of Hillary Clinton’s biggest campaign bundlers are Washington D.C. lobbyists who represent a who’s who of companies that the Democratic presidential candidate publicly claims to despise.

Campaign finance records released on Sunday show that Capitol Counsel lobbyists Richard Sullivan and David Jones raised more than $540,000 for Clinton in 2015. More than $225,000 of that came in the last quarter of the year.

Sullivan bundled the second largest amount of cash for Clinton, raising $274,891 for the year and $69,363 in the last quarter. Jones came in third, raising $266,286 for the year and $158,286 for the quarter.

But both lobbyists represent companies and trade groups in the pharmaceutical industry, health insurance field, oil exploration business and private prison industry — all fields that Clinton has criticized throughout her campaign. She has said she will shut down the private prison business, claiming that it contributes to racial disparity in the justice system. In the first Democratic presidential debate in October the former secretary of state named health insurance and pharmaceutical companies on her list of enemies. She’s also railed against oil and gas producers as creators of climate change.

Sullivan and Jones rake in hundreds of thousands of dollars each quarter for Capitol Counsel from those supposed Clinton foes.

Sullivan has lobbied for Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), a giant trade group that represents dozens of drug manufacturers. The group has paid Capitol Counsel $60,000 per quarter for years to lobby Congress on “legislative issues related to access to pharmaceuticals, including Medicare Part D, and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).”

It’s safe to say that PhRMA is interested in squeezing out as much profit from those programs as it possibly can, undermining Clinton’s stated desire to control costs in those programs. The irony is that Clinton routinely brags about creating CHIP, which is administered in individual states to provide health care to children.

Sullivan and Jones have also lobbied for Cardinal Health, a pharmaceutical and medical devices manufacturer. The company pays a lucrative $110,000 quarterly stipend to lobby on a host of issues, including on the repeal of Obamacare’s excise tax on medical devices. While Clinton has said she supports Obamacare and wants to expand it, she has declined to lay out her position on the 2.3 percent medical devices tax, saying in 2014 that the “pluses and minuses” had to be weighed.

Both Clinton bundlers rake in $90,000 per quarter lobbying for another company that hopes to squeeze profit out of health insurance consumers.

Health Care Services Corp. (HCSC) pays Capitol Counsel to lobby on issues related to “provisions in the Affordable Care Act affecting tax status of Blue Cross organizations.”

HCSC has been heavily criticized by a progressive watchdog group controlled by David Brock, who operates the pro-Clinton super PAC, Correct the Record.

In 2014, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), which Brock took over the same year, released a report hammering HCSC and its CEO for contributing to an anti-Obamacare ad campaign undertaken by the conservative American Action Network.

Sullivan and Jones have also lobbied for another company whose business Clinton has blasted in public.

Bass Enterprises Production Company, based in Fort Worth, Tex., pays Capitol Counsel $50,000 per quarter to cover issues related to the “tax treatment of oil, gas and estate tax treatment of family businesses,” Senate records show.

Like most Democrats, Clinton blames oil and gas companies for contributing to climate change. She has also railed against providing favorable tax treatment for the wealthy and for firms in the oil business.

Sullivan, the second-best Clinton bundler, also lobbies for BI Inc., a subsidiary of the private prison operator, GEO Group.

BI Inc. has paid Capitol Counsel $30,000 per quarter to lobby Congress on “legislative issues related to alternatives to detention.”

Clinton frequently criticizes the private prison industry in stump speeches. And according to Politico, her campaign forwarded an $8,600 contribution from a private prison PAC to a women’s prison charity in late December.

“Hillary believes we should move away from contracting out this core responsibility of the federal government to private corporations, and from creating private industry incentives that may contribute — or have the appearance of contributing—to over-incarceration. The campaign does not accept contributions from federally registered lobbyists or PACs for private prison companies, and has donated any such direct contributions to charity,” a campaign official told Politico.

The campaign gave no word on if it plans to return money bundled by Sullivan.

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