No matter what you think, Max Baucus can’t be bought! Just listen to Baucus spokesman Tyler Matsdorf, Senator Baucus “is only driven by one thing: what is right for Montana and the country“. So there!
“In the first six months of the year, zero Montanans have contributed more than $200 to Baucus. In that same time, he’s pulled in about $108,000 from out-of-state donors, and another $127,500 from mostly health, finance, real estate and insurance-related political action committees.”
But hey, he represents Montana so it’s okay. Senator Baucus told the Missoulian earlier this year, “no one gets special treatment.” “Your word is your bond back there.”
Last weekend, Senator Baucus hosted his tenth annual “Camp Baucus” at the Big Sky resort. A fun-filled three days of fly-fishing, golfing, horseback riding and hiking, family fun and gorgeous scenery for “friends and their families”. Well, maybe “hosted” isn’t exactly the right word, Max didn’t show up. He was just way too busy in Washington, working on health care reform, to be photographed flipping rude gestures at fellow Montanans protesting the event. It seems that lobbyists and political contributors constitute most of Max’s “friends and family” since most normal Montanans couldn’t afford the required $2,500 to $5,000 donation to the senator’s leadership pac. “Over the past six years, Glacier PAC raised 76 percent of its funds from political committee ties to corporations, unions, trade associations and lobbyists.” “Baucus collected $3 million from the health and insurance sectors from 2003 to 2008, about 20 percent of the total, data show. Less than 10 percent of the money came from Montana.” In the past, Baucus has refused to reveal names and donation amounts from his fundraising events and federal rules don’t require him to do so. Baucus brushed aside the criticism. “There’s no problem. I’ve been doing these events for more than 10 years,” he said. “Baucus said he did not know how many contributors would be attending.”
Does Max need all this money from the health care industry? No, of course not. Montana is a small state and doesn’t require a large campaign warchest. Max handily won re-election last year over “Republican” nutjob, Bob “Eyebrows” Kelleher. He doesn’t face election again until 2014. Does it look wrong to be shoveling in all this lobbying money in the middle of sensitive negotiations over a health care bill? It’s sure a good thing that Max isn’t influenced by all that dough. Want to know where all the money and influence comes from? Peruse the charts and tables at the Sunlight Foundation, The Max Baucus Health Care Lobbyist Complex.
“News that Senator Max Baucus’ Finance Committee deal on health care financing excluded a public option sent health insurance stocks soaring Tuesday.” Okay, just to be on the safe side, Max began refusing contributions from health-care political action committees. However, “the policy does not apply to lobbyists or corporate executives, who continued to make donations, disclosure records show.” Oops, silly oversight.
So there you have it. If you donate a thousand dollars to Max Baucus, you will get nothing, he will just thumb his nose at you and your clients. Donate a million and he will laugh in your face. If you are from Montana you don’t even need to donate. Max is already bought and paid for. But then again, as NewWest points out, “At some point, [Baucus is] going to have to worry about getting Democratic votes,” said one Democratic Senator, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “If they think that we’ll take whatever it is that comes out because we want to get something passed, they’re wrong.” Yeah whatever, that’s not for another five years. Montana will forget by then, right?