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Ear to the Ground

Shady Deal Showered Top Blue Dog With Cash

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Posted on Sep 22, 2009
AP / Susan Walsh

Rep. Mike Ross, center, has reason to smile. His wife’s pharmacy in The Middle of Nowhere, Ark., somehow earned the family between $1 million and $1.67 million.

Rep. Mike Ross has been one of the leading opponents of health care reform in Congress. Guess who coincidentally sold property to a pharmacy chain for hundreds of thousands more than it was worth? Ka-ching!  PS

ProPublica:

“You can buy half the town for $420,000,” said Adam Guthrie, chairman of the county Board of Equalization and the only licensed real estate appraiser in Prescott.

But the $420,000 was just the beginning of what Ross and his pharmacist wife, Holly, made from the sale of Holly’s Health Mart. The owner of USA Drug, Stephen L. LaFrance Sr., also paid the Rosses $500,000 to $1 million for the pharmacy’s assets and paid Holly Ross another $100,001 to $250,000 for signing a non-compete agreement. Those numbers, which Ross listed on the financial disclosure reports he files as a member of Congress, bring the total value of the transaction to between $1 million and $1.67 million.

And that’s not counting the $2,300 campaign contribution Ross received from LaFrance two weeks after the sale closed.

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Click here to see Rep. Ross’ response (beneath the photograph on the ProPublica page).

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By prgill, September 24, 2009 at 12:10 am Link to this comment

This is outrageous.

And then, add to this the disappointment many of us must feel with our congressional delegations on health care reform.

I personally am terribly disappointed in my homestate (Louisiana) congressional delegation, who, as democrats are more conservative than conservative republicans.

Mary Landrieu, you cannot really consider the Democratic Party to be your family when you hold out on us as you are on health care reform. You are so conservative I bet you don’t even read Truth Dig.

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By KDelphi, September 23, 2009 at 8:20 pm Link to this comment

Obama/Clinton—same man, different skin tone.

Oh, diamond, diamond..this “bill” will be the death of true “health care reform” for at least 2 more decades. The “pubic option” will be “drowned in a bathtub”—lets not re-invent the wheel—lets not let Obama do what he did in Illinois. Lets do what DEMOCRACIES DO—you know, like Germany or Denmark.

I am as Liberal as you can get and not be burned at the stake, and, I ‘ve been watching the hearings held by BaucASS everyday—as a former medical social worker and current patient, I say KILL THE BILL or it will kill us!  How in the woirld can you ask every US citizen to PAY the medical industrial complex that has been killing 45,000 people a year?!

Shame on the Democrats, shame on the US.

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By diamond, September 23, 2009 at 3:45 pm Link to this comment

Of course Glider you’re with the Republicans. What you say on “kill the bill” is almost word for word what John Boehner said. He claimed that America has the “best healthcare system in the world” and that some kind of bastardized bill could be put together that won’t touch any of the problems that you currently have with the health care system. Of course you would like a distraction like running a witch hunt on corruption in politics, a bottonmess pit that involves both parties and would go on for years,while NOTHING WHATSOEVER is done about setting up any kind of alternative to the mess you currently have.

The problem is not the uninsured: the problem is that even if you are insured you are at the mercy of the psychopaths who run the health insurance companies and the drug companies. They are the ones behind the corruption and it’s a mistake to get obsessed with the politicians on their payrolls. You need to take away the payroll by setting up a public system that they will have to compete with. Then they will have to moderate their profits and give decent service to those who are insured with them. At the moment they can sentence you to death by refusing to let you have treatment they consider too expensive for their bottom line. This is murder which I’m sure you’ll agree is a much bigger crime than mere corruption.  $2,300 is chickenfeed to these people: like tossing a bone to a (blue) dog. The system is the problem and you need to deal with that first. If that’s done effectively the corruption will die of its own accord and the people involved in it can be thrown out of office and pursued by the law. Putting health care reform on hold while you focus on corrupt politicians is like beating up the bartender while the crooks escape out the back door of the saloon.

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By msgmi, September 23, 2009 at 1:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Rep. Mike Ross personifies the cancer on Capitol Hill. His constituents should be loud and clear during the next election in extricating one of many tumors on the Beltway.

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By peterjkraus, September 23, 2009 at 11:56 am Link to this comment

This guy represents me. He is being bribed by health care and related industries, and there’s not a damned thing I or any other constituent can do about it.

I left the Democratic party because of Arkansas’ horrible representation: check OpenSecrets.org for Democrats Ross, Senators Lincoln and Pryor, see the huge contributions they took and are taking in from health care corporations this year alone (Ross, $81k and counting, PLUS whatever other shady deals like the sale of his pharmacy there may be, Blanche Lincoln took in $641k and counting)and Finance,Insurance and Real Estate (Mark Pryor $961k) and Lawyers and Lobbyists (again top earner Pryor: over $1 Million). Pretty good haul for three Dems from Arkansas, a state that has a population of 2.8 million, a million less than the city of Los Angeles.

We MUST get these people out of office: they’re bought and paid for by lobbyists, so let them become lobbyists. Let’s replace them with honest people who will represent the people of their districts to the best of their ability.

This bribery has to stop.

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By Random Items, September 23, 2009 at 9:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When you call yourself a Blue Dog Democrat, you admit
you are an SOB.

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By glider, September 23, 2009 at 9:51 am Link to this comment

KDelphi’s comments and data are right on.  It is clear Obama does not want a strong public plan.  That was only a calculated populist position for his campaign and he is using the cover of “bipartisanship” to eliminate or castrate any such option.  He will only change if it becomes politically expedient to do so, by others ramming it down his throat.  It may be more accurate to say that Obama does not suffer from a lack of leadership, but rather that the agenda he is leading is not the one he advertises to the public.  I think this is probably the root of his appearance of waffling and weakness.  But people continue to project their hopes onto Obama. 

Personally, I am now behind the Republicans on this matter.  Kill the bill.  I just can not imagine a good bill being produced by these bribed corrupt so-called “representatives”.  The focus needs to be shifted to fixing the broken legislative process before we can legislate a good bill.

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By MG8, September 23, 2009 at 9:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Democrats are as bad or worse than Republicans from the perspective that at least Republicans admit they are for big business, they do not hide that fact. Dems say anything to get the support of people less fortunate than they, representatives of regular Americans (give me a break, Joe). It’s true what KDelphi says, this reform was over when Dems took single payer off the table, the only plan better than what we have now, and what is proposed in FIVE separate bills! This so-called reform is a dog and pony show for the people actually paying the tab, and the salaries of all of them. What happens after it’s over is a royal screwing of American citizens by the insurance companies. We need to remember this at election time, and vote each and every corporate shill out of office. One more thing it seems important to note: we cannot elect more of the same to take their place.

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By The Mad Loon, September 23, 2009 at 7:40 am Link to this comment

The Blue Dogs are really repugs who read the tea leaves and realized that they likely couldn’t win on the repug ticket so they became dems of convenience.

So of course they are as or more corrupt than your average pol(which is really saying something)When someone has no principles to begin with, it should be no surprise when they show themselves to be corrupt

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By Thomas MvGuy, September 23, 2009 at 6:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Business as usual…...  The best congress money can buy…..    What else is new??

&&&&&&&&  they OWN the airwaves….............  Six of us…. millions of them….

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By Purple Girl, September 23, 2009 at 5:37 am Link to this comment

Cleaninng House in the Dem party.
Anyones who’s been politcally conscious fro the last few decades knows exactly who and what these so called ‘ConservaDem’, ‘BlueDogs’ and ‘Moderate Dems’ are. We watched as they Jumped ship when the Moral Majority/Neo cons took over the Repug party in the ‘80’s. Does any one think it a coincidence the DLC was founded in ‘84, with their ‘Third Way’ Corp Appeasing platform??
These are not, nor have ever Been True Blue Dems- they are Red Coats cloaked in Blue.A Blue Lap Dog is a far more accurate image of these people.Come On Hillary never turned in her Goldwater Repub membership card- Reason she was so willing to defer to McCain’s “Abilities” throughout the campaign and vilify Obama- Hillary and McCain were born out of the same Kennel- just with different spots.
and lets really examine which of these Dogs are creating the most havoc in the party- those who supported Hillary. The Clinton machine is killing the Dem party, and it’s time we kick them out. We appear as Weak and indecisive as the ‘moderate’ Republicans do when faced with the Fringe of their party.
I fact it would benefit both parties if we sent them back to the Republicans. They would marginalized the crazed Neo Cons and reinstate the control of our party back to our Real Center.
I have been a Life Long Liberal Dem and yet I have seen the party be accused of Corp whorishness where no should ever have existed. The True Dem party is based on Human rights and labor rights- not compromising and placating the Industrial Mogal who oppress US.
There is no ‘Third Way’ if you are a Dem- there is only the Peoples way. This false claim the Corps represent their Workers is oxymoronic- they never have nor ever will. When your Boss and your comapny treats you like shit- they are not working in your best interest, only themselves and their investors dividend checks.
These pseudo Dems have given the Democratic party a bad name. They have been the ones screwing up our message and legislation by confusing the issues and our goals.
Even though I voted for Bill 2x’s, I am disgusted with the Clintonites who obviously work for the Corps - just merely working the other side of the Street. Screw them, it’s time for them to Go Home!

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By ardee, September 23, 2009 at 2:58 am Link to this comment

I appreciate the research of KDelphi and believe it illustrates an important point. If we wish our government to actually represent we the people instead of its own self interests we need better candidates. We also need a system that frees said candidates from the need to raise funds for re-election.

We need free elections, we need free media space for qualified candidates, we need an end to incredibly expensive elections ( 10 million to elect a Senator, three quarters of a billion to elect Obama). And we certainly need an end to lobbyists.

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By KDelphi, September 23, 2009 at 12:15 am Link to this comment

Chaotic Good—You do not have to read my posts, but , perhaps you missed the article about how much money Obama had taken and the compromises he made in Illinois? Its NOT Gop—-its the duopoly.

Obama and all the Dems , but a handful, have sold us down the river on this one, by taking single payer (HR 676) off the table. It was all over that day.

The Blue Dogs are every bit as bad as gOP on this, maybe worse.

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By ChaoticGood, September 22, 2009 at 11:46 pm Link to this comment

That’s really low. You sure this guy was always a Democrat?  He acts like a Republican.

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By KDelphi, September 22, 2009 at 11:08 pm Link to this comment

Gee, what a surprise. Like he’s the only sold out corporate Dems. BaucASS got $4 million from the insurabnce industry (over 10 yrs). Obama was well-known for his watered down version of “heatlh care reform” when he was a senator in Illinois! (see below)

I tried to circulate a petition to ask BaucASS to step down for conflict of interest and all I got was banned from a coupla Dem-neolibcon websites. 

Dems are the ultimate corporate.

“Why the Free Mkt Cant Cure Health Care”

http://socialistworker.org/2009/09/03/market-cant-cure-health-care

The right can howl all they want that Obama is a socialist. In truth, he is supporting a health care plan that will be a huge bonanza for private insurance companies. First, we are all about to be mandated to purchase their product. And second, the government is going to subsidize that purchase for unknown numbers of people. Can you say “ka-ching”?

We need a universal, single-payer system to guarantee an “intrinsic ethical” right to health care. And while we’re at it, we should have the right to nutritious food and the right to have a decent place to sleep at night.

We can’t wait for our employers—or the mainstream political parties they sponsor—to give us those rights. They must be wrested from the government by a movement of working people motivated by their own independent interests and liberated from the shackles of free-market ideology.

“As ThinkProgress has noted, the Blue Dog Coalition is awash in corporate cash. The health care industry was the top donor to Matheson’s 2008 campaign, giving him hundreds of thousands of dollars. The health industry was also the top donor to Ross, a former pharmaceutial executive whose negotiations recently forced the Energy and Commerce committee to weaken its health care bill”
http://thinkprogress.org/2009/08/08/blue-dogs-insurance/

Obama’s state of Illinois bill in 2004:

“..Most significant, universal healthcare became merely a policy goal instead of state policy - the proposed commission, renamed the Adequate Health Care Task Force, was charged only with studying how to expand healthcare access. In the same amendment, Obama also sought to give insurers a voice in how the task force developed its plan.

Lobbyists praised Obama for taking the insurance industry’s concerns into consideration.

“Barack is a very reasonable person who clearly recognized the various roles involved in the healthcare system,” said Phil Lackman, a lobbyist for insurance agents and brokers. Obama “understood our concern that we didn’t want a predetermined outcome.”

In one attempt at a deal, Obama approached the Campaign for Better Health Care with insurers’ concerns, asking if the group would consider a less stringent mandate than requiring the state to come up with a universal healthcare plan. The coalition decided not to bend, said Jim Duffett, the group’s executive director…..
During debate on the bill on May 19, 2004, Obama portrayed himself as a conciliatory figure. He acknowledged that he had “worked diligently with the insurance industry,” as well as Republicans, to limit the legislation’s reach and noted that the bill had undergone a “complete restructuring” after industry representatives “legitimately” raised fears that it would result in a single-payer system.

“The original presentation of the bill was the House version that we radically changed - we radically changed - and we changed in response to concerns that were raised by the insurance industry,” Obama said, according to the session transcript.”

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2007/09/23/in_illinois_obama_dealt_with_lobbyists/

But—your life and death decisions are all really made by Wall St, until (lol) the uS gets univeral coverage and eliminates insurance companies. But, unless, you consider Obama a Blue Dog, this is hardly the fault of gOP or Blue Dogs…Obama had practice…

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By LostHills, September 22, 2009 at 10:22 pm Link to this comment

All three of these parties should be indicted on bribery charges immediately. And would be if we were living in a democracy….

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By Grokit01, September 22, 2009 at 9:27 pm Link to this comment

When are we, as a people, going to say ‘enough is enough’ and start putting parasites like these against a wall?

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