She's the tops | Arkansas Blog

Friday, October 9, 2009

She's the tops

Posted By on Fri, Oct 9, 2009 at 5:02 AM

More campaign finance analysis from Paul Barton in Washington shows U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln is No. 1 among all members of Congress in contributions from a variety of important lobby interests.

And bid best wishes to another Lincoln (and Mike Ross) staffer who's moved into the lobbying ranks to help Pharma, etc.

By Paul Barton

WASHINGTON – Some last-minute campaign number crunching before the newest round of congressional campaign finance reports come out.

Of the 50 industries giving the most to congressional candidates for 2010, Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln is the favorite of six of them, some of the latest slicing and dicing of Federal Election Commission data by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics shows.

Her standing in various categories of campaign contributions, in fact, seems to belie any supposed weakness apparent in recent polling numbers. Candidates will be disclosing their third-quarter data soon.

With House members and senators lumped together in the rankings, some of the most striking data in regards to Lincoln:

   - First in contributions among health professionals with $438,450.

- First in contributions among oil and gas interests, $175,850.

- First in contributions among crop production industries, $256,325.

- First in contributions among retail sales, $163,700.

- First in contributions among agricultural services, $123,597.

- First in contributions among food processing and sales, $80,800.

Oil and gas, the Center for Responsive Politics notes,  is an industry that usually gives primarily to Republicans.

Through June 30, Lincoln had raised $5.88 million and had $3.67 million on hand. The figures include contributions to both her regular campaign and personal political action committee, Leadership in the New Century.



More on the lobbying front: Drew Goesl, who for six years served as Lincoln’s Senate press secretary and then served three years as Rep. Mike Ross’s chief of staff, has just taken a position with Capitol Counsel, a firm that lobbies on behalf of dozens of high-powered clients in health, pharmaceutical and other fields. The list includes including Pharma, the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers of America, plus Astra Zeneca PLC, as well as the American Bankers Association and the American Petroleum Institute.

This makes the third person who held a major position on Lincoln’s staff to go to work for health-care lobbying firms. Elizabeth Barnett worked for Lincoln from 2000 to 2007, including time as chief of staff,  left  to become the top Democratic lobbyist for Blue Cross Blue Shield, and another former chief of staff  for Lincoln, Kelly Bingel, is a lobbyist specializing in health care at Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti Inc, the lobbying firm of Sen. Max Baucus’ former chief of staff David Castagnetti.

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