James Inhofe Parades his “Senior Advocacy” Award from Pharmaceutical Industry Front Group
Earlier this week, Jim Mountain Inhofe issued a press release praising himself for receiving the Guardian of Seniors’ Rights Award for “his continued support of seniors’ rights during the 109th Congress.” The organization that presented Inhofe with this award, the 60 Plus Association, is described in the release as “a non-partisan seniors’ citizens association [that] advocates a prescription drug benefit for seniors as well as tax fairness, fiscal responsibility, and other current seniors citizen issues.”
In fact, 60 Plus is anything but a senior’s advocacy group. According to the AARP, the largest and most recognized group representing America’s seniors, and Public Citizen, a non-profit public interest organization, 60 Plus is actually a conservative front group for the nation’s pharmaceutical industry, namely PhRMA, the drug industry’s chief trade association. According to an investigation conducted by the AARP Bulletin, virtually all of the contributions to 60 Plus in recent years have come from the same source –
Indeed, lobbying disclosure forms filed by 60 Plus reveal that the group has spent inordinate amounts of money, well over $14 million since 2000 on issues such as repealing the estate tax (a well-known Republican priority), private accounts for Social Security, CAFTA, the Patriot Act, conservative judicial nominations, drilling in ANWR, and the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit, which was widely criticized as a giveaway to drug companies. (
When President Bush spoke at the signing of the Medicare bill, he specifically thanked the president of 60 Plus, Jim Martin, along with the chair and CEO of United Seniors Association, for their hard work on the legislation. (Washington Post, 12/8/03)
In addition, Mr. Martin, along with other 60 Plus representatives, have penned a variety of interesting editorials over the years in the name of 60 Plus, but many of the issues he endorses aren’t exactly your run-of-the-mill serniors’ issues. They include: “Global Warming: Emissions treaty would devastate the
It would take a conservative front group to recognize a senator like Inhofe for his supposed crusade for seniors. Inhofe has most certainly sided more with the drug industry than with seniors. Surprising, since, at 71, he's a senior himself. Inhofe voted against allowing for the negotiation of lower prescription drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries. (Senate Roll Call Vote 50, 3/15/06) He penalized seniors by repeatedly voting against extending the deadline for enrolling in the Medicare prescription drug plan. (Senate Roll Call Vote 5, 2/2/06; Senate Roll Call Vote 342, 11/17/0/5) He voted for significant cuts in Medicare and Medicaid with his support of the Budget Reconciliation package. (Senate Roll Call Vote 303, 11/3/05) And, of course, he voted for the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit bill, largely a giveaway to drug companies at the expense of
Congratulations Senator, guess you earned it.