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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Health-care ‘reform’ coauthor cashes out to K Street

[Originally posted at Beltway Confidential]

When the health-care bill passed in March, I wrote that the health-care lobbying was just beginning and that: “You’ll also see the Democratic staffers who wrote the bill rewarded with plush lobbying gigs.”

It didn’t take long for me to be proven right. Akin Gump, whose clients include Aetna, Pfizer, General Electric, and the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America, has hired a top staffer to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — a staffer who played a key role in passing the health-care bill.

From Akin Gump’s press release:

Arshi Siddiqui, senior policy advisor and counsel to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), will join Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP as a partner in the policy practice in Washington….

Since joining Rep. Pelosi’s leadership staff in 2003, Ms. Siddiqui has provided counsel on numerous legislative initiatives, including the historic comprehensive health insurance reform legislation, the economic recovery package, and the financial recovery and stimulus bills.

Her work on health-care was so important, Pelosi thanked her by name on the House floor.

But check out Siddiqui’s portfolio as listed by Akin Gump — it’s a compendium of corporate welfare: the bailout, the stimulus, and a health-care bill that mandates private health insurance and subsidizes drug companies until they blush.

Not to question Siddiqui’s motives, but to point out the incentives that exist on Capitol Hill, imagine a staffer who pushed through a bill that removed regulations on insurers, repealed subsidies, and generally got government out of the hair of hospitals, device-makers, insurers, and drug companies. That result would probably be companies reducing their lobbying.

But write a bill that injects government into every decision — as a regulator and a funder — and you make lobbyists more important. And who better to help you navigate the maze of new handouts and rules that the people who wrote the rules?

This is why Obama cannot simultaneously increase government control over the economy and reduce the influence of K Street and special interests. Big Government is the mother’s milk of the special interests.

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