Republican House Leader Skip Stam, according to the newspaper, has introduced a new law limiting how much corporations with state contracts can give to politicians who grant the contracts. Surely a step in the right direction.
But, that said, while Representative Stam’s limiting donations to the Democratic Governor and folks in the Executive Branch he’s not limiting contributions to his fellow Republican legislators. So why not go a step further and limit contributions from corporations who hire lobbyists to get legislators to pass bills to fund their state contracts?
This new law – of Representative Stam’s – is part of a trend that’s gotten up a full-head of steam in the legislature that would make a Gilded Age politician proud: A cadre of powerful Republican Senators and Representatives – Tom Apodaca, Bob Rucho, Thom Tillis and Jon Rhyne – have been changing laws left and right to help some folks at other folk’s expense.
For instance, over the last two elections, six Senate leaders (and the Senate Republican Caucus) have taken $700,000 in contributions from corporate interests and medical interests and, now, they’re changing the laws to eliminate malpractice lawsuits and dictate jury verdicts to favor doctors and hospitals.
Republican Legislators have also taken $4,000,000 from Chamber-of-Commerce-type-corporate-interests and Representative Jon Rhyne has a bill to grant pharmaceutical companies amnesty when they sell harmful drugs like Vioxx or Parlodel. Rhyne’s also sponsored a bill to cut payments by auto insurance companies to victims of wrecks. And Senator Bob Rucho has a bill to make it easier for auto insurers to raise premiums – freeing them from the clutches of the Insurance Commissioner.
Here’s an example: If Senators Rucho and Apodaca pass their medical malpractice bill and a bricklayer gets hurt by malpractice in the emergency room he’s out of luck. He eats his lost wages. And pays his own medical bills. And the multi-million dollar hospital corporation (whose malpractice harmed him) walks away without paying a penny of restitution.
For years, we Republicans have stood four-square against giving government the power to favor one group over another. But Representatives Tillis and Rhyne, and Senators Rucho and Apodaca have changed that overnight.