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Why is Jason Altmire Taking Coordinated Money from a Dallas Corporation?

Jason Altmire is a U.S. Representative in Congress. His job is to represent the people of the 4th district of Pennsylvania.

FEC data show that on October 23, 2009, Jason Altmire received a $1,000 check from the Tenet Healthcare Corporation PAC. Tenet is a for-profit corporation based in Dallas, Texas.

On March 19 2010, Jason Altmire received another $1,000 check from the Tenet Healthcare Corporation PAC of Dallas, Texas.

On June 21 2010, Jason Altmire received four checks from Tenet COO Stephen Newman, Tenet communications executive Jeff Eller, Tenet lobbyist Daniel Waldmann, and Tenet Senior Director of Government Relations Teresa Huskey. Stephen Newman lives in Dallas, Texas. Daniel Waldmann lives in Dallas, Texas. To be upfront, neither Teresa Huskey nor Jeff Eller lives in Dallas, Texas. Eller lives in Austin and Huskey lives in Fort Worth.

On June 30 2010, Jason Altmire received yet another check from the Tenet Healthcare Corporation PAC of Dallas, Texas.

Also on June 30 2010, Jason Altmire received still another check, this time from one Melissa Fetter of Dallas, Texas. Do you think that Ms. Fetter had caught news of the fine works of Jason Altmire as it spread on the wind? Probably not. It turns out that Melissa Fetter used to work for Tenet Healthcare and is married to Trevor Fetter, the President and CEO of Tenet Healthcare.

Why is a health care corporation from Dallas, Texas sending checks to a representative of the 4th District of Pennsylvania? You might think that perhaps the Tenet Healthcare Corporation does some business in Altmire’s district. But that’s not true. Tenet Healthcare, which has endured a number of ethics scandals in the past, runs two hospitals in the Philadelphia area, but Altmire doesn’t represent the Philadelphia area. Altmire is elected from District 4, which starts in Pittsburgh (across the state from Philadelphia) and heads westward from there. Tenet Healthcare does no business in or near the 4th District.

But did you know that before he was elected to Congress, Jason Altmire spent a number of years as a paid lobbyist for the Federation of American Hospitals? It’s true. It’s also true that the Federation of American Hospitals PAC, which is so fond of Jason Altmire that it’s sent him four of its own checks over the past year, counts Tenet Healthcare as one of its corporate members. Did you know that Trevor Fetter is Chairman of the Federation of American Hospitals? It’s a small world.

Did you know that Jason Altmire sits on the Subcommittee on Regulations and Health Care of the House Small Business Committee?

Did you know that the Federation of American Hospitals testified before Congress against Democrats’ plans for health care reform in 2009 on the basis of “cost containment”?

Did you know that Tenet Healthcare has issued its own declarations that the health care reform bill may reduce its profits because of problems with cost containment?

Did you know that right in the middle of receiving all these checks from Tenet Healthcare Corporation and the Federation of American Hospitals, Jason Altmire declared that he would vote against the health care reform bill because “you just can’t leave out cost containment”?

13 comments to Why is Jason Altmire Taking Coordinated Money from a Dallas Corporation?

  • Tom

    Your second sentence has been re-defined by the good Senator. His job NOW is to represent some big corporation funneling him bags of cash (ostensibly for his campaign) to get favorable tax breaks, docile workers and a compliant government so that they can make even more money. Who cares about the “little people” any more? Not guys like this or ones who become guys like this once they attain office.

  • Tom

    By the way, great job connecting the dots Jim! If you could put out ads with these kind of links, he’d probably get a few votes less. Why don’t you send this to the Pittsburg Gazette (or whatever the local paper is out that way)? Shake things up a little.

  • Junga

    No, I didn’t know all that until now, but now I do know it, and gosh, I’m left wondering where all those professional journalists who are supposed to be covering Congress are. Why haven’t they been investigating this story?

  • NPGH Progressive

    Tenet does business with BNY Mellon – Pittsburgh headquarters. Also, when companies have business interests in a state they do their best to appeal to the entire state delegation.

    You’re going to tell me that if you ran for Congress that you couldn’t get people that you were connected to in the past to make donations to your campaign because you are friends with them?

    You can’t believe that the real reason Altmire wouldn’t stick his neck out for this legislation is because it didn’t help bring down costs. The bill passed, let it go and let’s work on getting other things done together. We would rather try to cut off our left arm because we can’t throw a football with it, but we will need if we want to make a tackle.

    • Horatio

      Why are you so eager for people to ignore Jason Altmire’s lobbying history and conflicts of interest – to just “let it go”?

      • NPGH Progressive

        When I say letting it go…I mean let the healthcare bill debate within the Democratic Party.

        Are you going to ignore that Altmire worked on the Clinton Task Force for healthcare reform? This article decided to ignore that part of his background.

        So let me ask you this question: After a Congressperson decides a vote, lets say to raise the minimum wage, should they turn down donations from labor unions that fought for it?

        I simply believe that he made this decision based on his knowledge of healthcare costs and also an understanding of a right leaning constituency. I think that loosely tying knots based on about $5,000-$10,000 in donations is weak. It ignores the over $500,000 that he has received from labor who wanted him to vote for the healthcare bill. So I’m not sure why someone that is about the money would vote against his biggest donor.

        • Jim

          Can you document that “over $500,000″, NPGH Progressive? My own count of Altmire’s union contributions comes in much lower.

          Can you share with me what sort of policy Altmire advocated for when he was on that task force? What he did there matters much more than his mere seat on the task force: task forces are typically stages where competing interest groups duke it out.

          • NPGH Progressive

            I’m looking at his entire fundraising career at opensecrets. According to that website, he has received $652 thousand from what opensecrets labels as unions. (I think a lot of the money that gets labeled under Construction, Communications, and Transportation is labor based.) I am not a huge fan of the labels at opensecrets because it pulls competing organizations under health. For instance, he received a lot of backing from groups that supported the healthcare bill in 2006-2009, but they get lumped in with some the donations he has received in the past year after he voted against the bill. He has in the past received a good amount of money from UPMC (Pittsburgh’s biggest employer), but he worked for them for a few years before he ran for office. UPMC was in favor of the healthcare plan because they are one of the large health insurance companies that will benefit from the passage of HCR.

            I’m not privy to information about what ‘side’ Altmire would have been on. He was on the task force as a staffer for Rep. Pete Peterson, Democrat from Flordia.

            • Jim

              Well, just looking at the latest election cycle, Altmire’s union money is swamped by CEO money. And thanks for noting that you have no idea what Altmire’s position on that task force was.

  • I’m not sure I entirely understand your point. Tenet and The Federation of American Hospitals both supported the healthcare bill, which, of course, Altmire voted against. Trevor Fetter, on CNBC, said “I embrace healthcare reform.” http://www.cnbc.com/id/15840232?video=1163619478&play=1

    So… you are pointing out that Altmire is continuing to work with both sides and people that he goes against still like him?

    I agree. He’s a pretty likable guy.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Jim

      Everybody, including those who were dead set against the healthcare reform bill, said they supported healthcare reform. Jason Altmire said he supported healthcare reform when he voted against healthcare reform.

      If you actually watch that video, Trevor Fetter says he’s only in support of certain kinds of healthcare reform, and not others.

      • Tenet supported the bill. The Federation of American Hospitals supported the bill. You cannot change that regardless of how much you want to. Carol Shea-Porter, one of your liberal buddies, THANKED them in her statement after the final passage of HCR.

        You can make fake conclusions all you want but facts are facts. Altmire voted no and did not support the bill. Tenet and Federation of American Hospitals did.

        • Jim

          Hey, I’m all about truthiness, and no factual claim I’ve made here is incorrect, as you can tell by following my links to sources. Maybe you’re right: maybe they’re all just pals. Pals with extra money, working for the same corporation, making coordinated contributions. It could be.

          Have you got a source for your claim?

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