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It's absolutely ridiculous when we worked so hard to elect Obama, got a 60 seat majority in the Senate, and a 79 seat majority in the House so that a lone Republican from the great state of Maine can end up writing the most important bill on health care reform for the "veneer" of bipartisanship, because god, a partisan bill that delivers great policy is a frightening prospect because {gasp} it might be painted as a liberal bill that will DOOM America.

I'm betting that 77% of the American public that support the public option don't want a Republican to be writing a "trigger" onto the public option. Who in their right mind thinks that a trigger on the public option is acceptable? Because it's not, and it's the height of naivety to think private insurers won't make sure that the trigger never happens.

We now have our progressive Democrats in the Housefighting back and we need more Democrats to join these 65 Democrats in the House! That's where you come in in today's research on the five members of Congress who are in incredibly safe Democratic seats, but refuse to clearly draw a line in the sand for the public option.

Here are the five Democrats that we did research yesterday on, and found out surprising information that shows how compromised one of them can be by special interests that are spending $1.4 million a day against the public option:

  1. Rep. Anna Eshoo definitely takes the lead with her PAC contributions from pharmaceuticals, but the individual contributions she's taken are even worse, especially the donations she's taken from a team of lobbyists in the business at the lobbying firm Mehlman and Castagnetti representing private insurers such as AHIP, Ascension Health, Humana. One of the lobbyists that she took money from was Stacey Ramp, who was her former legislative director, and now represents AHIP, Ascension Health, GE HealthCare, and Humana. She'll definitely be getting my vote in the poll below.
  1. Rep. Jan Schakowskyisn't bad as Rep. Eshoo in the donations she's taken from PACs, which are very few, and the kind of individual contributions she's taken. She's taken $1,500 from the American Hospital Association PAC, and $1,000 from Blue Cross Blue Shield's PAC, BluePAC. That's about it for her.
  1. Rep. Joe Baca hasn't taken PAC contributions from some of the heavy hitters in the health industry, and that's good for him, and for us as well. However, he has taken individual contributions from lobbyists such as Dean Aguillen, who represents major pharmaceutical firms with an interest in no drug price negotiation in the final health care bill.
  1. Rep. Artur Davis has taken a few PAC donations from private insurers such as HealthSouth Inc., Humana, and Tenet HealthCare Corporation. He's taken $2,400 from the CEO of a hospital system, and $2,400 from the CEO of an insurance company called HealthSouth, Inc.
  1. Rep. Robert Andrews has taken PAC contributions from insurers such as Aetna, AFLAC, BlueCross BlueShield, and from Genesis HealthCare. He hasn't taken any individual contributions from lobbyists, which is good.

We have five more Democrats today for us to do research on with the help of The SunLight Foundation, which has provided us with access to their tools and resources:

  1. Rep. Sander Levin
  1. Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee
  1. Rep. Zoe Lofgren
  1. Rep. Louise Slaughter
  1. Rep. Ed Pastor

You can start with the accountability process by researching their FEC contributions, how much they have on OpenSecrets, who's hosted political fundraisers for them, and the individual donations from lobbyists on behalf of firms that represent the worst insurers: AHIP, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, Humana, and UnitedHealth.

After doing research, we'll know who's taken the most money from special interests, and who should be rightly held accountable by us. That's what the accountability process is about, and it's democracy in action. This is one of the "stick" parts of our carrot and sticks program at FDL.

And here's how the stick part is going to be carried out after we choose the most compromised Democrat out of these 55 Democrats who "professes" support for the public option but won't take a firm stand for it in the final bill:

  1. A dedicated landing page collecting all of the crowd sourced information about their relationships with lobbyists and their voting history
  1. Educational calls into every Democratic household in the district letting them know the member won't take a stand to defend the public option
  1. Post cards to every Democratic home in the district, directing them to the website and letting them know the member's history with lobbying interests
  1. An automated call-in number for people who can't login to the website

Without the stick part, these 55 Democrats will feel absolutely no repercussion from not having taken a line in the sand for the public option, and it's why we have to flex our muscle on this as a part of the netroots, and this is democracy in action--holding our elected officials accountable by actually doing something about it. Some may not like it, but this is what we have to do since these 55 Democrats won't join their 65 colleagues in the House who stuck their necks out for us.

If you want to see more stuff like this, then please help support our work (since we do literally work for you guys) by donating to our fund at Firedoglake! Your donations go to our living stipends, expenses, and travel costs, including awesome tools like these.

Now, let's keep holding our elected officials accountable for the public option as a required component of the FINAL bill!

Please RECOMMEND this diary to hold our elected officials accountable on the public option as the line in the sand!

And if you're upset about the news yesterday about the White House floating a "trigger" on the public option through Senator Snowe, please call your Member of Congress to let them know that a trigger on the public option is unacceptable and that it is very much the line in the sand for you! For other action items, please see MinistryOfTruth's diary.

And please vote on the 5 Democrats that we did research on yesterday in the poll below:

Originally posted to slinkerwink on Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 07:35 AM PDT.


Which of these five are the most compromised?

78%296 votes
3%13 votes
9%37 votes
6%24 votes
2%9 votes

| 379 votes | Vote | Results

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