Health care cash continues to flow


Watchdog is planning to use radio to go after Blue Dog Democrats who are balking at supporting full scale health care reform, and numerous organizations are spending cash stored in a virtual time-release capsule, which won’t start reaching broadcasters until next year.

The Blue Dogs on MoveOn’s hit list include John Barrow (D-GA), Jim Matheson (D-UT) and Charlie Melancon (D-LA). Radio ads targeting the trio are supposed to kick off today. All three voted against reform in committee, and MoveOn is making good on its threat to go after them.

Meanwhile, CQ Politics notes that in the first half of 2009, health-related PACs have funneled $1.8M just to 18 members of House of Representatives. Six are among leaders of both parties, and the other 12 are either the chair or ranking member of a key committee. The same group is on a pace to exceed the $6.5M they received from the same PACs during the 2007-2008 election cycle when health care was not yet the hot-button issue it is now.

CQ doesn’t get into cash donated to other House members or to senators, but it can be surmised that the $1.8M going to House leadership is but the tip of the iceberg.

RBR/TVBR observation: Interested parties on all sides of this many-faceted debate are looking for ways to influence the outcome. One big way to do that is to make friends with the people who get to actually cast a vote – legislators. And to smart broadcasters, legislators are also known as: clients.

Those seeking to influence health matters on the Hill want as many friendly legislators as possible and further, they make sure that the legislators friendly to their cause are re-elected. This is accomplished with campaign donations. And much of that cash will wind up in the bank accounts of broadcasters during the next election cycle.