Politicians need money to get elected. Campaigns are expensive and getting more so. While candidates partake in hometown fundraisers such as coffees and neighborhood meetings, the real money comes from lobbying groups. Not that all politicians are necessarily beholden to who spends the most, but if their political survival is dependent upon obtaining big dollars to run a successful campaign, they certainly are inclined to at least give more access to those who give the big sums. So who spends the most? An article in the January 13, 2008 Olympian newspaper in Olympia Washington recently supplied the figures. Over $48 million was spent in 2007 to influence state lawmakers or in contributions to campaigns. The top spender? The Insurance Industry. Over $12 million was spent in direct campaign costs to convince voters to reject the Insurance Fair Conduct Act, Referendum 67. Lobbyists in the non-health care insurance sector spent an additional $7.2 million, more than four times what they spent the previous year, according to public disclosure data. So where does all this money come from? It isn’t like the insurance company employees contribute it out of their paychecks. No, the money comes right from the insurance premiums each of us pays. In other words, right out of your pocket. Why do I see an insurance rate hike in the near future for all of us? Rest assured, the industry will tell you it’s necessary because of too many lawsuits. Sadly, most people will believe them.
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