Sunday, January 25, 2009

How not to lobby Congress

It seems that a trade association, America’s Health Insurance Plans, told Congressman Pete Stark that a trio of TV reporters were on its speaker list. The only problem: it wasn't true.

From Representatives Stark's office:
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- “On Friday I sent a press release suggesting that three journalists, Nancy Snyderman and Robert Bazell of NBC News and Susan Dentzer of the PBS' NewsHour, participate in America’s Health Insurance Plans’ (AHIP) Speakers Network,” said Stark. “According to these journalists, AHIP and/or the Leading Authorities Speakers Bureau added them to this network without their approval and without their knowledge. I therefore apologize to each for suggesting that they contracted with the insurance lobby.”

“Again, my apologies to the three journalists for associating them with this reprehensible lobby. But as is often the case, AHIP’s actions speaker louder than my words. That the insurance lobby would add journalists to their speakers network without approval smacks of the kind of dishonesty they regularly employ. Not only does AHIP lie about health care policy, they also besmirch the reputations of journalists.”

Brillant AHIP, not only have you offended the chair of the subcommittee with jurisdiction over legislation affecting your members, you have also offended three very high profile journalists. How do you justify the dues your members pay?

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