AdvaMed Ramps Up Political Spending in Third Quarter

Consistent with what one would expect as the 2012 election season barrels ahead, AdvaMed is directing ever more money toward political lobbying efforts. According to a report by the Associated Press, the group spent 20% more in the third quarter of 2011 than it did in the third quarter of 2010, dropping around $428,500 in its attempts to sway Congress.

Again, this should not be much of a surprise, given that this is what advocacy groups like AdvaMed are supposed to do, and given the number of issues in play that could greatly affect industry, like healthcare reform. 

Of particular interest in the AP's report: it mentions that current AdvaMed lobbyist Elizabeth Sharp used to work for Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). Baldwin, who represents typically left-leaning Dane County (and the Madison area therein), is running to replace retiring Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI). After Tea Party-ish businessman Ron Johnson knocked off long-time progressive incumbent Russ Feingold for Wisconsin's other senate seat in 2010, this race will probably be among the more closely watched of 2012. Though industry usually seems to favor Republican and conservative candidates, Baldwin could potentially join Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Al Franken (D-MN), and John Kerry (D-MA) in the group of Democrat senators with industry ties (assuming, of course, that Klobuchar is reelected).

The so-called "pharmaceutical/health products" industry has donated $17,945 to Baldwin's campaign committee so far, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, fifth most on the list of industries that have contributed to her campaign. She is also a member of the House Medtech Caucus. At this point, Baldwin also has a sizeable fundraising advantage in the race to replace Kohl.

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Thomas Blair