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Key Members of Hillary Clinton Team Lobbied Against Bills She Now Touts as National Accomplishments
Posted on Feb 8, 2016
As she campaigns for the presidency, Hillary Clinton is heralding the Affordable Care Act and the Dodd-Frank Act, yet she has infused her staff with former lobbyists and consultants who did all they could to block the two reforms.
In a Jan. 17 debate with her two Democratic rivals (Martin O’Malley has since dropped out), she hailed the Affordable Care Act as “one of the greatest accomplishments of President Obama, of the Democratic Party and of our country.” Now, The Intercept has published a report saying that Clinton’s team of strategists and fundraisers includes a number of former consultants and lobbyists for businesses that worked against Obama’s proposal for health care reform.
According to the website, one of Clinton’s biggest fundraisers, Heather Podesta, worked with several health insurance companies to spend $86 million in TV and radio ads opposing Obamacare.
Dewey received $772,110 in 2009 from the National Restaurant Association, which has lobbied against raising the minimum wage.
Members of Clinton’s staff also lobbied against the Dodd-Frank Act, aimed at Wall Street corruption. That legislation was inspired by the financial crisis of 2008 that wiped out the savings of many Americans.
In December, in an op-ed piece for The New York Times, Clinton wrote: “People’s savings are being restored. And we have tough new rules on the books, including the Dodd-Frank Act, that protect consumers and curb recklessness on Wall Street.”
Yet The Intercept found that Clinton’s chief pollster and strategist, Joel Benenson of the Benenson Strategy Group, lobbied on behalf of Citigroup and Goldman Sachs and worked for many years to weaken a wide variety of Dodd-Frank reforms. Another campaign adviser, Steve Elmendorf, was at one time retained by Goldman Sachs and tapped by Citigroup to help push through a bill that would have allowed banks to avoid financial regulations by moving certain operations overseas. And Jeff Berman, who is leading Clinton’s delegate strategy, previously worked for TransCanada as a lobbyist for the Keystone XL project. The oil pipeline’s extension was eventually blocked when Obama rejected it late last year.
Hillary Clinton’s embrace of Washington lobbyists offers a frightening picture of what her administration might look like if she is elected.
—Posted by Donald Kaufman.
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