News and Document archive source
copyrighted material disclaimer at bottom of page

NewsMinecabal-elitew-administrationbig-money — Viewing Item

Two bills benefit top bush fundraisers { November 22 2003 }

Original Source Link: (May no longer be active)

2 Bills Would Benefit Top Bush Fundraisers
Executives' Companies Could Get Billions

By Thomas B. Edsall
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 22, 2003; Page A01

More than three dozen of President Bush's major fundraisers are affiliated with companies that stand to benefit from the passage of two central pieces of the administration's legislative agenda: the energy and Medicare bills.

The energy bill provides billions of dollars in benefits to companies run by at least 22 executives and their spouses who have qualified as either "Pioneers" or "Rangers," as well as to the clients of at least 15 lobbyists and their spouses who have achieved similar status as fundraisers. At least 24 Rangers and Pioneers could benefit from the Medicare bill as executives of companies or lobbyists working for them, including eight who have clients affected by both bills.

By its latest count, Bush's reelection campaign has designated more than 300 supporters as Pioneers or Rangers. The Pioneers were created by the Bush campaign in 2000 to reward supporters who brought in at least $100,000 in contributions. For his reelection campaign, Bush has set a goal of raising as much as $200 million, almost twice what he raised three years ago, and established the designation of Ranger for those who raise at least $200,000.

With the size of donations limited as a result of the campaign finance law enacted last year, fundraisers who can collect $100,000 or more in contributions of $2,000 or less have become key players this election cycle. The law barred the political parties from collecting large -- sometimes reaching $5 million to $10 million -- "soft money" contributions from businesses, unions, trade associations and individuals. This has put a premium on those who can solicit dozens, and sometimes hundreds, of smaller contributions from employees, clients and associates.

The energy and Medicare bills were drafted with the cooperation of representatives from dozens of industries. Power and energy company officials; railroad CEOs; pharmaceutical, hospital association and insurance company executives; and the lobbyists who represent them are among those who have supported the bills and whose companies would benefit from their passage.

The Medicare bill was scheduled to be acted upon by the House late last night. If passed, it will go to the Senate. The first comprehensive revision of energy policy in more than a decade passed the House this week, but in the Senate, the measure ran into a roadblock yesterday when opponents stopped it from coming to a vote. Sponsors promised to make further efforts to get the 60 votes to break the filibuster.

The energy bill provides industry tax breaks worth $23.5 billion over 10 years aimed at increasing domestic oil and gas production, and $5.4 billion in subsidies and loan guarantees. The bill also grants legal protections to gas producers using the additive methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE), whose manufacturers face a wave of lawsuits, and it repeals the Public Utility Holding Company Act (PUHCA), a mainstay of consumer protection that limits mergers of utilities.

The bill has been the focus of a bitter ideological and partisan fight for three years. A leading sponsor, Rep. W.J. "Billy" Tauzin (R-La.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, praised the legislation, saying, "All Americans can look forward to cleaner and more affordable energy, reliable electricity and reduced dependence on foreign oil for generations to come."

Public Citizen, which has tracked the legislation and correlated patterns of contributions to members of Congress and to Bush, denounced the bill as "a national energy policy developed in secret by corporate executives and a few members of Congress who are showered in special interest money."

Perhaps the single biggest winner in the energy bill, according to lobbyists and critics, is the Southern Co. One of the nation's largest electricity producers, it serves 120,000 square miles through subsidiaries Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power, Mississippi Power and Savannah Electric, along with a natural gas and nuclear plant subsidiary.

The repeal of PUHCA, for example, would create new opportunities to buy or sell facilities; "participation" rules determining how utilities share the costs of new transmission lines that are particularly favorable to Southern; two changes in depreciation schedules for gas pipelines and electricity transmission lines with a 10-year revenue loss to the Treasury of $2.8 billion; and changes in the tax consequences of decommissioning nuclear plants, at a 10-year revenue loss of $1.5 billion, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.

At least five Bush Pioneers serve as a Southern Co. executive or as its lobbyists: Southern Executive Vice President Dwight H. Evans; Roger Windham Wallace of the lobbying firm Public Strategies; Rob Leebern of the firm Troutman Sanders; Lanny Griffith of the firm Barbour Griffith and Rogers; and Ray Cole, of the firm Van Scoyoc Associates.

The railroad industry also has a vital interest in the energy bill. For years, it has been fighting for the elimination of a 4.3 cent-a-gallon tax on diesel fuel, and, at a cost to the Treasury of $1.7 billion over 10 years, the measure repeals the tax. Richard Davidson, chairman and CEO of Union Pacific, is a Ranger, and Matthew K. Rose, CEO of Burlington Northern, is a Pioneer.

Among the major lobbying firms in Washington, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feldhas been one of the most successful collecting fees for work on the energy and Medicare bills. In the first six months of this year, Akin Gump, which has two partners who are Pioneers -- Bill Paxon and James C. Langdon Jr. -- received $1.6 million in fees from medical and energy interests.

Barbour Griffith & Rogers received $1.1 million from similar clients.

On energy issues, Akin Gump represented Amerada Hess Corp., Waste Management Inc. and FirstEnergy Corp., Pacific Gas and Electric Co., BP Exploration and Phillips Petroleum Co. Two of those corporations have, in turn, executives who are major Bush fundraisers, Pioneer A. Maurice Myers, CEO of Waste Management; and Anthony J. Alexander, president of FirstEnergy, a Pioneer in 2000 and again in the current campaign.

On Medicare issues, Aikin Gump represents the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America, Johnson & Johnson, Abbott Laboratories and Pfizer Inc.. All would benefit from the expanded markets resulting from a key provision of the bill -- the first federal subsidies to help Medicare patients pay for prescriptions.

Hank McKinnell, chairman and CEO of Pfizer, has pledged to raise at least $200,000 for Bush's reelection, although he is not yet listed as a Pioneer or Ranger. Pioneer Munr Kazmir, who runs a direct-mail drug company called Direct Meds Inc., estimates that he has about 100,000 customers on Medicare who will have more money to buy drugs from his company. "We know the patients, we know how important this bill is," he said.

In addition to the prescription drugs provision, the Medicare bill is intended to encourage recipients to join preferred-provider organizations (PPOs) and other kinds of private health care, instead of receiving care through the traditional fee-for-service system in which they pick their doctors and generally get whatever care they request. The health industry has provided substantial support to the Bush campaign, and a number of officials whose companies and associations actively support the Medicare bill are Pioneers and Rangers .

Pioneer Charles N. Kahn, president of the Federation of American Hospitals, said that the Medicare bill will make "important strides in ensuring that all hospitals have sufficient funding to meet the medical needs of this nation's seniors." A federation spokesman noted that the bill provides more money for rural hospitals and for hospitals serving disproportionate numbers of the uninsured, and that it prevents doctors from setting up new competing specialty, or "boutique," hospitals.

M. Keith Weikel, chief operating officer at HCR Manor Care, a chain of more than 500 nursing homes and other facilities serving the elderly, is another Pioneer. Weikel and Manor Care did not respond to requests for comment on the Medicare bill, but the major nursing home trade group, the American Health Care Association, strongly endorsed the bill, which, among other things, would continue to bar Medicare from capping the amount it covers for various therapies offered by health care providers such as nursing homes.

Staff writer Peter Behr and researcher Lucy Shackelford contributed to this story.

2003 The Washington Post Company

2006 cuts in domestic spending across the board { May 27 2004 }
42 senators millionaires
Abramoff tied to white house photographed with bush
Advocates of war now profit from iraq reconstruction { July 14 2004 }
Bankruptcy law tough on katrina victims { September 8 2005 }
Bill making bankruptcy difficulty passes { April 15 2005 }
Bush aids finances detailed { June 16 2003 }
Bush appoints telecom lobbyist to fcc { February 4 2006 }
Bush budget cost more billions
Bush campaign raises 84m { October 14 2003 }
Bush charges 9m for african president meeting { November 10 2005 }
Bush enron ties in spotlight
Bush protects pharmaceutical and insurance from lawyers
Bush raises millions california { June 28 2003 }
Bush rejects tax on oil windfall profits { March 2006 }
Bush replaces government jobs with private contracts { April 18 2005 }
Bush signs law curbing class action lawsuits
Bush signs transportation bill full of pork { August 11 2005 }
Bush slashes domestic programs boosts defense
Bush turns to big military contractors for border control { May 18 2006 }
Bush wants to protect telecomm companies { February 12 2008 }
Chinese mega bucks for bush brothers { December 16 2003 }
Corporate power is US driving force { July 15 2004 }
Delays corporate gop fundraising investigated { July 12 2004 }
Donors stay in the lincoln bedroom
Energy bill exploits katrina to pay off oil industry { October 5 2005 }
Enron money helped GOP redistribution effort { July 12 2004 }
Financial firms are bushs biggest donors { January 9 2004 }
Fundraiser denies link between money access { May 17 2004 }
Goldman sachs workers big donations to bush { August 20 2004 }
GOP K street lobbyists access
Gop lobbyists invisible powerful world
Gop reaping in lobbyists { June 26 2003 }
Gop to renew tax cut for wealthy { May 10 2006 }
Gop uses katrina to ease energy laws { September 28 2005 }
Halliburton secret nobid iraq work contracts { June 16 2004 }
Healthcare overhaul is quietly underway { January 31 2005 }
House energy bill will foul air
Ken lay blames friendship with bush
Lobbyist appointed leader gop { June 17 2003 }
Lobbyist defends 800k contingency fee { January 4 2004 }
Lobbyists hire lawmakers kid { June 22 2003 }
Lobbyists kids not alright { June 24 2003 }
Lobbyists senators sons { June 23 2003 }
Mccain wants local business rebuilding instead of halliburton
More area money goes to bush
Oil lobbyist watered down climate research { June 9 2005 }
Power elite george w
Record deficit rein in domestic costs { January 4 2004 }
Refinery bill guts clean air pollution standards
Republicans are the big spenders { August 4 2005 }
Republicans backed by big business block labor bill { June 26 2007 }
Republicans conflicting loyalities to oil industry { May 4 2006 }
Rumsfeld sold ownership in pentagon contractors
Security aids switch to lobbying { April 29 2003 }
Senate approves 447b defense budget
Senate passes large corporate tax legislation { October 11 2004 }
Senate refuses to close wealthy loophole on bankruptcy
Senators financial holdings revealed { June 14 2003 }
Spending surges to historic level
Thanksgiving brings feeding frenzy round pork barrel { November 26 2003 }
The gop machine made bush supreme
Top campaign donors trade with iran iraq
Two bills benefit top bush fundraisers { November 22 2003 }
Wall street bush biggest donor { October 23 2003 }
Washington insiders consults contracts { September 30 2003 }
Wealthier vote back bush

Files Listed: 67


CIA FOIA Archive

National Security
Support one-state solution for Israel and Palestine Tea Party bumper stickers JFK for Dummies, The Assassination made simple