From lobbyists’ pens to legislators’ lips

Did you ever notice how remarkably similar the speeches given by lawmakers on the issue of health care reform happened to sound? While it would be easy to chalk the similarities up to the use of talking points issued by each side, the similarities may in fact stem from the fact that perhaps as many as four dozen lawmakers from both parties had their health care reform statements written by lobbyists:

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.

At least Democrats and Republicans can agree on something – namely that using lobbyists to write your statements is a great idea!


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2 thoughts on “From lobbyists’ pens to legislators’ lips

  1. What was different about the statements they drafted for each party?

    That’s just lazy. Couldn’t they even be bothered to retype it (or cut and paste) and slap it on their own letterhead. {Figuratively speaking of course.}

  2. Um – verbatim talking points should be the least of our concerns. How about verbatim legislation – considering lobbyists commonly write large chunks of what “our” Congress passes. And it’s not like the people we voted for actually read the bills anyway.

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