When it comes to stories about dirty corporate-funded conservative front groups (like here ), this one really takes ThePopTort.
A couple years ago, we covered the abusive attacks - on the U.S. House floor, no less - by rude (to put it nicely) Members of Congress on Iowa Rep. Bruce Braley, who stood up for patients – their safety and their rights - when medical malpractice issues were pointlessly thrown into the health care debate. Last night, Braley appeared on the Rachel Maddow show to discuss a new LA Times investigative piece, about unscrupulous and hateful attacks ads run against Braley during the last days of his 2010 reelection campaign.
Incredibly, the group behind the attacks calls itself the "Center to Protect Patient Rights." Yet unlike Congressman Braley, this group could care less about patients. It’s tied to “Charles and David H. Koch, the billionaire brothers who bankroll a number of conservative organizations” and it’s really nothing more than a PR operation with a post office box “on a desert road on the northern outskirts of Phoenix.”
Incredibly, writes the LA Times,
Center to Protect Patient Rights — whose existence was first reported this month by the Center for Responsive Politics — provide a glimpse into the network of deep-pocketed conservative advocacy groups that have already begun an air war against President Obama.
Because these nonprofit groups are under no obligation to reveal their donors, the sources of their funding has remained a mystery.…
The center was largely used as a vehicle to pass millions to other organizations, which also zealously guard the anonymity of their donors. Some campaign finance experts suggested the center could have been set up to pool money from various sources.
In Congressman Braley’s case, the Center’s money was funneled to another front group called American Future Fund, based in Des Moines.
And then, to add to the shame of all this, physicians have allowed themselves to be used for this effort, like “Courtney Koshar, a Phoenix anesthesiologist” who was on the Center’s tiny board of directors. “And a Phoenix doctor who once sat on its board said he couldn't remember who asked him to join.”
What’s more, Donald Palmisano, the former American Medical Association president who orchestrated, in conjunction with the Bush administration, the enormous PR and lobbying attacks on patients' legal rights in the mid-2000s, has apparently maintained his abhorrent role as political hack. Continues the LA Times,
[T]he center gave more than $2 million to the similarly named Coalition to Protect Patients' Rights, a Virginia-based nonprofit formed in spring 2009, five weeks after the center. …
New Orleans surgeon Donald Palmisano, former president of the American Medical Assn. and the public face of the coalition, also said he did not know the source of funding. "I'm just the spokesperson," Palmisano said.
Last night, former U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens said “he expects that the court has already had second thoughts about parts of its controversial Citizens United ruling that eased restrictions on corporate spending in political campaigns.” Meanwhile, organized medicine should be ashamed.