Mike Arcuri Heavily Funded By Corporate PACs
When our U.S. Representative, Mike Arcuri, joined congressional Republicans to vote against health care reform, many Ulysses Democrats wondered how on earth he could have made such a decision, when 24th district Democrats overwhelmingly support reform. A look at Arcuri’s 2009 sources of campaign donations goes some way toward clearing up the mystery.
Three quarters of donations to Congressman Arcuri’s re-election campaign last year came from political action commitees. Only one quarter of donations came from individuals – and a good number of those individuals aren’t even from our district.
For example, there are the two checks Arcuri took from Robert Blancato, who lives in Arlington, Virginia, and has spent 5 of the last 10 years as a registered lobbyist. Also sending money from Arlington were Shawn Bullard, who works for the lobbying firm Duetto Group, and lobbyist Bob Gray, working for Strategic Insight. Arcuri took a $5,000 check from Gilbert Butler, an investment manager in New York City, a check from Patrick Foley, who lobbies for the firm Bolton-St. Johns, and Patricia Guay, lobbying with the Petrizzo Strategic Group for clients such as Agios Pharmaceuticals and Medica Healthcare Plans. The list of lobbyists counted as individual contributors to Arcuri’s re-election campaign continues on, and on. Search through that list, and you’ll see that even the 24 percent of donations that Arcuri took from individuals isn’t wholly comprised of fawning Arcuri constituents in our district.
Of course, many lobbying firms were quite open about handing money to Congressman Arcuri. For example, before he voted against climate change legislation, Arcuri took a check from Kelley, Drye and Warren, a lobbying firm that represents ExxonMobil. Arcuri also took money from the PAC for the lobbying firm Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal, a lobbying firm representing Allstate Insurance, as well as the PAC for the lobbyists of Williams & Jensen, which represents pharmaceuticals giants Novartis, Amgen, and AstraZeneca.
Are you starting to get the picture of how Michael Arcuri could have seen his way to vote against health care reform? Yes, Arcuri certainly got some interesting telephone messages from Tea Party protesters, but perhaps more convincing was the $53,500 he received from medical industry PACs, and $15,000 from insurance industry PACs. That’s in addition to the amounts given by the lobbyists listed above.
Arcuri also took $10,000 in donations from the Blue Dog PAC. Arcuri is a Blue Dog himself, and along with rank-and-file members such as Arcuri, every single leader of the Blue Dog Coalition voted against health care reform.
Did Democratic voters here in Trumansburg think that Representative Arcuri would listen to them on the issue of health care reform, with the loud voices of all that corporate money competing for attention?