Emails Show White House Helped Create Third-Party Advertising Initiative Behind Health Care Law, Had Close Involvement in Messaging and Advocacy of Outside Interests
WASHINGTON, DC - The House Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), today released a memo and supporting documents that outline the White House’s involvement in the creation and operations of third-party advertising groups funded by special interests in an effort to secure public support for health care legislation. The revelation comes through an investigation the committee launched last year to determine how the health care law was crafted and what agreements were made behind closed doors instead of in front of the American people as the president promised.
As part of its agreement with the White House, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) spent nearly $70 million on two 501(c)(4) groups that could spend unlimited corporate money with little public disclosure. Despite President Obama’s repeated statements that such third parties running advertisements are a “problem for our democracy,” the White House played a vital role in the organization and direction of two 501(c)(4) groups, worked with special interests to develop mutually agreeable messaging, and offered input on where the money should go. The emails also confirm that PhRMA’s decision to fund advertisements in support of the law was linked to policy agreements backed by the administration.
To learn more about the policy agreements, click here to read a memo released on May 31, 2012. To read more background on the investigation, click here to read a memo released on May 16, 2012, and here to read a memo released on April 17, 2012.