Did Baucus’s romantic trip to Dubai cost taxpayers billions?

News broke this morning that Senator Max Baucus had recommended his girlfriend for a US attorney job. Earlier this year, Baucus nominated Melodee Hanes, his state director and girlfriend, for the post, along with two others. He later withdrew her name. During her time in Baucus’s office, Hanes collected plenty of taxpayer money at the …

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Press picks up on health care connections

We’ve gotten two great mentions of our health care research this week in Politico and The Huffington Post. Politico congressional reporter Manu Raju names Liz Fowler, Sen. Baucus’ current health adviser and former WellPoint lobbyist; Mark Hayes, Sen. Grassley’s health counsel who is married to a health care lobbyist; Frederick Isasi, Sen. Bingaman’s health policy …

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Chief health aide to Baucus is former Wellpoint executive

Senator Max Baucus’s chief health adviser, Elizabeth Fowler, has been called the “chief operating officer” of the healthcare reform process by Politico — the staffer who sets legislative deadlines, coordinates with the White House on policy, and is understood to speak for Baucus on health policy issues. Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein has called her …

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Following PhRMA

Over the weekend, the Associated Press broke the news that the drug industry plans to support Obama’s health care proposal. Despite the nasty adjectives the White House has used to describe them in recent months, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) will run TV ads in favor of “Obamacare” that will cost at least …

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Six at the table, how many in the room?

Six centrist Senators got some attention from the New York Times today for their role in shaping health care reform. Never mind that the room is small and the “debate” couldn’t be framed more narrowly; Senator Olympia Snowe tells us that Max Baucus, the ringleader, is “very inclusive.” The story includes an annotated photograph of …

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