David Sirota

David Sirota
Denver, Colorado,
November 02
David Sirota is a political journalist, best-selling author and nationally syndicated newspaper columnist living in Denver, Colorado. He is a senior fellow at the Campaign for America's Future , the founder of the Progressive States Network and a Senior Editor at In These Times magazine, which in 2006 received the Utne Independent Press Award for political coverage. He also blogs for Credo Action. and the Denver Post's PoliticsWest website. His two books, Hostile Takeover (2006) and The Uprising (2008) were both New York Times bestsellers. In the years before becoming a full-time writer, Sirota worked as the press secretary for Vermont Independent Congressman Bernard Sanders, the chief spokesman for Democrats on the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, the Director of Strategic Communications for the Center for American Progress, a campaign consultant for Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer and a media strategist for Connecticut Senate candidate Ned Lamont. He also previously contributed writing to the website of the California Democratic Party. For more on Sirota, see these profiles of him in Newsweek or the Rocky Mountain News. Feel free to email him at lists [at] davidsirota.com

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SEPTEMBER 12, 2009 10:19AM

UnitedHealth Lobbyist Throws Pelosi Fundraiser

Rate: 15 Flag

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the first time yesterday suggested she may be backing off her support of the public option. According to CNN, Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid "said they would support any provision that increases competition and accessibility for health insurance - whether or not it is the public option favored by most Democrats." When "asked if inclusion of a public option was a non-negotiable demand -- as her previous statements had indicated Pelosi ruled out any non-negotiable positions," according to CNN. This was also corroborated by the Associated Press, and by Pelosi's own words, as quoted in those stories.

This announcement came just hours before Steve Elmendorf, a registered UnitedHealth lobbyist and the head of UnitedHealth's lobbying firm Elmendorf Strategies, blasted this email invitation throughout Washington, D.C. I just happened to get my hands on a copy of the invitation from a source - check out this OpenLeft exclusive:

From: Steve Elmendorf [mailto:steve@elmendorfstrategies.com]
Sent: Friday, September 11, 2009 8:31 AM
Subject: event with Speaker Pelosi at my home

You are cordially invited to a reception with

Speaker of the House
Nancy Pelosi

Thursday, September 24, 2009
6:30pm ~ 8:00pm

At the home of
Steve Elmendorf
2301 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Apt. 7B
Washington, D.C.

$5,000 PAC
$2,400 Individual
To RSVP or for additional information please contact
Carmela Clendening at (202) 485-3508 or clendening@dccc.org

Steve Elmendorf
900 7th Street NW Suite 750 Washington DC 20001
(202) 737-1655

Again, Elmendorf is a registered lobbyist for UnitedHealth, and his firm's website brags about its work for UnitedHealth on its website (Elmendorf was also a chief of staff for Democratic Minority Leader Dick Gephardt).

The sequencing here is important: Pelosi makes her announcement and then just hours later, the fundraising invitation goes out. Coincidental? I'm guessing no - these things rarely ever are.

I wrote a book a few years ago called Hostile Takeover whose premise was that corruption and legalized bribery has become so widespread that nobody in Washington even tries to hide it. This is about as good an example of that truism as I've ever seen.

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Thanks for pointing out that Corruption is our number one problem right now in the U.S. It's affecting all of our quality of life. This is why many of us do not want to turn over 1/6 of the economy of the U.S. to a bunch of corrupt politicians who will screw it up royally if given half the chance. We all want the same thing but some of us do not trust the present cast of criminals in Washington to do the right thing. And you're calling US crazy?!
I am so tired of this.

Late this morning I am the main presenter on a national call on health reform as to what local advocates can do to support a good bill. Can I just bang my head on the speaker phone???

Nice job on Rachel last night, btw.
I'd almost like to pay 2400 so I could go in there and throw a fit.
C'mon David, you are being paranoid! We all know the money is just going to go to fix an eye lift gone bad! It wont influence policy one iota (will it?)
Surprised? No

Saddened beyond belief is more like it.
I honestly can't believe she (or anyone) would be ballsy enough to pull this shit in the middle of this debate. She should at least make SEEM like she cares until they vote on some Bill that is watered down to the point that it is worthless even if it does pass.
If the Speaker of the House is in cahoots with the enemy then what is the point of any of this? What are we fighting for if we've lost before we've even begun?

Change you can believe in!!!!!
The more things change...

I heard she was stumping for Zilpac.
Watering down ad absurdum would have been made less easy to accomplish if single-payer had had a voice at the table from the beginning. Shame on Democratic leadership in all quarters.
United Health-One of the biggest thieves out there right now. The doctors of America hate this company! And Nancy Pelosi has the balls to do a fundraiser! These people are not to be trusted, obviously!
They won't take on the health insurance companies. They won't take on the drug companies. They won't take on the senior citizens' lobby. They won't even tax employer-based health insurance. So what is left of health care "reform?"

Just this -- forcing millions of uninsured, most of whom are just scraping by to begin with, to shell out thousands of dollars APIECE to the health insurance companies for their worthless "coverage" which disappears as soon as you need it, like an umbrella that folds up as soon as it begins to rain.
I've never trusted Pelosi and here's another reason.... Sleep with those boys, Nancy and show us what a whore you really are!
I am totally disgusted by this. Can't form words.
I am just floored. That's it. Shameful.
Thanks for posting this so quickly. This is the kind of thing that needs to be stopped, fa sure. Rated.

Go to Behind Blue Eyes' post about HR676 (Medicare for all = single-payer) - lets resurrect this bill! It needs to go viral!
I need more anxiety pills, but I can't afford them... I guess I'll just sit here and turn red with anger...

In good time these things are more easily hidden, so we can go about our lives feeling as though things are OK... Fuck them all...
Prior to the election I remember a linking promise between the quality of health care afforded Congress and that 'socially' provided the rest of us.
Now should be the time of delivery, not not just more eternal now, memory loss and B.S. sandwiches.
Tell me PAC is a humble way of asking: Please Accept Cash.
Holy ::fuck:: (rated)

I am a recovery swearer. I just fell off the wagon with this one. I am PISSED - more to come.
I am strongly reminded of Joe Haldeman's "Worlds," where a second American Revolution has occurred, and people aren't elected to office to represent geographical locations, but rather lobbying and business interests (i.e., "Representative Ted Smith, L-WestingHouse). I mean hell, we'd have more power electing people that way than we do now.