Labor groups, abortion activists push candidates; Ruling veils political donors

Groups on all sides of the political spectrum are running full-tilt at candidates and health issues in advance of the November elections.

Politico: Organized labor is "still smarting" from Ohio Democratic Rep. Zack Space's opposition to the health reform bill. A "coalition of Ohio labor groups is moving forward with a campaign urging voters not to support his reelection bid. The Service Employees International Union is preparing to launch a campaign, dubbed 'Skip-a-Space,' against the second-term Democrat, urging 18th District voters to withhold their support for Space — a move that threatens to imperil his competitive November bid against Republican state Sen. Bob Gibbs." The SEIU gave $25,000 to Space during his first two campaigns (Isenstadt, 8/17).

The Hill: "The pro-abortion rights group EMILY's List launched an Internet campaign on Tuesday aimed at creating support for the 32 female candidates it is endorsing for state and federal office this year. The campaign, called 'Sarah Doesn't Speak for Me,' aims to counter former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's (R) high-profile endorsements of 'Mama Grizzly' candidates who want to restrict abortion rights" (Pecquet, 8/17).

Politico, in a separate story: "EMILY's List spokeswoman Jess McIntosh would not specify how much money will go into the new campaign. At this point, she said, it's just an online effort, but the organization hopes to expand it between now and November." Meanwhile, the antiabortion Susan B. Anthony List "just finished its 'Votes Have Consequences Express' tour, a weeklong bus tour of 23 cities in Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania targeting anti-abortion Democrats who voted for the health care reform bill" (Schultheis, 8/17). Rep. Tom Perriello, D-Va., faced a line of tough questioning on health reform from several constituents in a town hall in Chatham, Va., Tuesday night. "Danville business owner Gary Bender rattled off complaints against Perriello, calling him a 'liar and a hypocrite' before the audience began booing him to ask a question. A member of Perriello's staff asked the man to wrap it up. … 'Where in the Constitution do you … get the right to take away our rights and spend this money this way?' Bender asked. Applause erupted. Perriello thanked him for his question and responded that regarding health care reform, he believed 'what we've done is within the Constitution,' but that the judiciary would decide those claims. 'I have perhaps removed your right to get completely shortchanged by your insurance companies,' Perriello responded, adding that he thought people should be 'playing by basic rules' of fairness" (Amos, 8/17).

NPR: A series of rulings on federal election contributions has allowed "corporations to funnel money into electoral politics while remaining anonymous. Evan Tracey, president of the Campaign Media Analysis Group, which tracks political advertising, said Tuesday that groups with new ads going up included Americans for Prosperity, the Committee for Truth in Politics, the League of American Voters, the Small Business Action Committee and the Emergency Committee for Israel — 'and that's just in the last 12 hours.'" 

"Helping to drive that surge is the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision — the invitation for corporations to take sides in elections. After that, two lesser-known decisions opened the door wider" (Overby, 8/17).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article is republished with kind permission from our friends at The Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery of in-depth coverage of health policy developments, debates and discussions. The Daily Health Policy Report is published for, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Copyright 2009 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.


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