LePage's secret bankers

By COLIN WOODARD  |  January 19, 2011

LePage has signaled a willingness to weaken health-insurance regulations, saying Maine "cannot afford health care with the Cadillac mandates that have come down from Augusta." The drug companies are likely betting that process will help fatten their bottom lines.

PhRMA kicked in $140,000 to the PAC; AstraZeneca, $344,000; Glaxo-Smith Klein, $99,000; Pfizer $94,000; AMGEN, $74,000; and DAINCHII SANKYO of Japan, $9000. AstraZeneca, clearly the most motivated in Maine, also contributed an undisclosed amount to LePage's inauguration party.

(After MPBN interviewed me on this topic, they asked AstraZeneca spokesperson Tony Jewell about the donations. He claimed, incorrectly, that the company gave only to the national RGA, and that it then used it "in campaigns across the country as they see fit." While that's how the RGA and its Democratic counterpart usually work, the group set up a dedicated PAC in Maine this year, which all the firms in this article donated to directly.)

The Prison Firm

Chipped in $25,000

The CORRECTIONS CORPORATION OF AMERICA, the nation's largest builder and operator of private prisons, has wanted to build a federal prison in Milo for years, but has been flummoxed by Democrats refusal to meet one of their key demands: changing Maine law to allow Maine prisoners — not just federal ones — to be incarcerated at the facility. Both the Portland Press Herald and the Bangor Daily News editorialized against such a change, pointing out that when states turn their prisoners over to for-profit corporate jailers, they lose control over the conditions they experience. Thirteen states from Texas to Massachusetts have recently ended their contracts with private prison companies.

Like PhRMA, Tennessee-based CCA has for years retained the services of corporate lobbyist Jim Mitchell, paying him $23,000 in 2009 to influence the state's biannual corrections budget. With this year's GOP takeover, CCA and Mitchell are taking no chances. Mitchell has just formed a new lobbying partnership with outgoing House Republican leader Josh Tardy (who was term-limited), who registered himself earlier this month as CCA's principal lobbyist.

LePage is already on board. Even before being sworn in, he promised to help bring CCA to Milo, though his spokesman has said it had nothing to do with CCA's donation (see "LePage Interested in Corporate Prisons," by Lance Tapley, December 17, 2010).

For-profit Social-Services Companies and Consultants

Chipped in $143,000

Several donors to the PAC are in the business of taking over the operation of state services, and presumably hope the LePage administration will consider letting them do so here.

Virginia-based MAXIMUS (which gave $50,000) provides "operating and consulting services" for child support, child welfare, day care, juvenile justice, Medicaid, Food Stamps, Social Security, job training, and Aid for Families with Dependent Children programs. K12 MANAGEMENT INC. ($19,000) is a for-profit curriculum developer for charter schools. RESCARE INC. ($25,000) specializes in home, child, and disability care services. SELLERS DORSEY ($25,000) is a health-care and Medicaid reform consulting firm whose clients include MAXIMUS, Pfizer, and the Maine Hospital Association. Miami-based PREFERRED CARE PARTNERS INC. ($24,000) is a Medicaid administrative subcontractor in South Florida.

The Military Contractors

Chipped in $201,000

Three military contractors from disparate fields donated to the PAC. None appear to currently do business in the state, but may wish to do so going forward.

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