Friday, June 09, 2006

Tom Daschle Tests Re-Gorging on Campaign Money Trough

(AP) Ex. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota is testing the waters in New Hampshire for a possible Presidential run in 2008. After losing re-election in 2004 Tom joined the lobbying firm of Alston & Bird as Senior Policy Analyst. The firm is known for employing retired Senator Bob Dole and ex Medicare chief Tom Scully.

During his time with Alston & Bird, Tom noted the huge sums of money funneled into the election money trough, even passing on some of the ka-ching himself. This re-wet his appetite to serve the public once again, this time as President of the United States.

This reporter is curious about the two Tom’s interactions at Alston & Bird. Tom Scully previously served as President of the Federation of American Hospitals, the for profit hospital trade group that made $10,000 in donations to then Senator Daschle’s last two campaigns. As he considers his Presidential run, Tom Daschle is highlighting his healthcare experience and vision for the future.

How will donations from for profit hospitals impact that vision? They seem to have driven policy in both the House and Senate when the pattern of donations and legislative actions are examined. Both Rep. Bill Thomas, Chair of the House Ways & Means Committee and Sen. Chuck Grassley, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee received donations from the FAH before taking action suspiciously consistent with long stated for profit hospital positions. Bill held a hearing on the unfair advantage of non profit community hospitals tax exempt status while Chuck sent a letter to the IRS asking them to treat “tax exempt” hospitals like credit counseling agencies.

How much money will pour into Tom Daschle’s campaign money trough, from whom, and what will they expect in return? That is the question I want answered by all candidates entering the 2008 Presidential race. My prediction is not one will, but all will spend money on attack ads. Will one be aimed at this reporter?

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