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“Beat The Drum” Success Story!!

Posted by italco on June 16, 2009


Fellow blogger and ireporter “CTLSS” wrote to the U.S. Office of Government Ethics because she was concerned about the members of congress that are helping draft new health care policy, that are heavily invested in the private insurance industry. Here is a copy of the letter she wrote on June 16th 2009.

To whom it may concern:

I am writing this because it has come to my attention that there are members of congress that are helping draft new health care policy, that are heavily invested in the private insurance industry. This is simply not an acceptable situation. These congressmen and women need to either get rid of the investments, or recuse themselves from serving on this committee. They simply cannot be trusted to make decisions based on what is best for the American people when their wallets may be affected.

“Almost 30 key lawmakers helping draft landmark health-care legislation have financial holdings in the industry, totaling nearly $11 million worth of personal investments in a sector that could be dramatically reshaped by this summer’s debate.

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), for instance, has at least $50,000 invested in a health-care index, and Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), a senior member of the health committee, has between $254,000 and $560,000 worth of stock holdings in major health-care companies, including Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck.

The family of Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee drafting that chamber’s legislation, held at least $3.2 million in more than 20 health-care companies at the end of last year.

While no congressional rules bar members from holding financial stakes in industries they regulate, some ethics experts suggest that it often creates the appearance of a conflict of interest, particularly if there is a chance that the legislation could result in a personal financial boost.

The first big congressional moment on health care comes Tuesday in the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, which will consider a liberal-leaning proposal that includes the creation of a “public plan” meant to be a government-administered alternative to private health insurance.

On that 22-member panel, at least eight senators have financial interests in the health-care industry wortha minimum of $600,000 — and potentially worth as much as $1.9 million. The investors include Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), a senior member of the panel, who holds at least $165,000 in pharmaceutical and medical stocks, and freshman Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), who holds at least $180,000 in investments in more than 20 health-care companies.”

She received a response the very same day!!! Here it is.

“Dear Ms. Schmitt,

I am responding to your email sent to the U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE) today regarding your concerns about conflicts of interest amongst members of Congress. Unfortunately, OGE does not have the authority to investigate individual instances of wrongdoing and has no jurisdiction over the legislative branch of the government. OGE was established by the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 as the office responsible for setting policies aimed at the prevention of conflicts of interest in the executive branch of the Federal Government. OGEassists executive branch departments and agencies in implementing ethics rules and policies that deal with conflict-of-interest laws, post-employment restrictions, the standards of ethical conduct, and the public and confidential financial disclosure systems.

You may be able to obtain more information regarding your concerns through the Senate Select Committee on Ethics or the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.

Senate Select Committee on Ethics

House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct

I hope this information proves helpful for you.

Kim H. Kaplan
Government Ethics Specialist
U.S. Office of Government Ethics

Way to “beat the drum” Ctlss…you rock!

Our NO does count and and they need to know that we are not going to tolerate corruption.

It is not alright to have a vested interest in the companies they govern. That is insider trading…How can they govern us with ethics when it effects their pockets directly. None of us should be tolerating this behavior.

It is not alright to accept gratuities from these corporations or the lobbyist that represent them…that is where corruption starts

Thanks to CTLSS , we all know where to send in our concerns. Help us “beat the drum” and end corruption in congress…let your voices be heard…tell them what you think!

It is just a mouse click and typing on the keyboard for your voice to be heard. Links are provided. Also see and read Ctlss’ ireport on this subject.


20 Responses to ““Beat The Drum” Success Story!!”

  1. marianna68 said

    Politics corrupts absolutely. I thought about going in once but I value my humanity far too much.

    Glad CTLSS has the guts to call this out.

  2. maanton said

    Hi all. I think you ‘re all doing great by acting in every way possible. I am Greek so I am not quite aware of how elected officials react towards your efforts. So I have a wonder, do those officials care, read and take into account your letters other than posting automated blah blah replies?
    As far as Greece is concerned, we the Greek citizens, do not even get automated replies…Although that the Obama phenomenon, using the internet to contact with the people, has inspired some folks over here, we are still AGES before having a direct communication.
    I sincerely hope that your efforts will make a difference in your country’s politics.

    • ctlss said

      Hey, Maanton. The reply that I got was not automated, so I am hoping that is a sign that someone is actually reading the emails we send. I am encouraged by that, as it implies that someone is really on the other end of these email addresses and that they are paying some attention.

  3. italco said

    This is their automated response when you submit your complaint.

    “Thank you!
    This response confirms that the Division of Enforcement of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission has received your complaint.
    We are always interested in hearing from members of the public, and you may be assured that the matter you have raised is being given careful consideration in view of the Commission’s overall enforcement responsibilities under the federal securities laws. It is, however, the Commission’s policy to conduct its inquiries on a confidential basis. The Commission conducts its investigations in this manner to preserve the integrity of its investigative process as well as to protect persons against whom unfounded charges may be made or where the Commission determines that enforcement action is not necessary or appropriate. Subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, the existence or non-existence of an investigation as well as information which may be gathered thereunder is not disclosed unless made a matter of public record in proceedings brought before the Commission or in the courts.

    Should you have any additional information or questions pertaining to this matter, please feel free to communicate directly with the undersigned at 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20549 or via e-mail at We appreciate your interest in the work of the Commission and its Division of Enforcement.

    Very truly yours,

    John Reed Stark
    Chief, Office of Internet Enforcement”

  4. italco said

    I have filed the following complaint with the SEC on 06/19/09. I will post any response.

    “My complaint is that our law makers have a “Conflict of Interest” and these policy makers have come into possession of stocks, are making policy, and governing the very corporations that they have a personal vested interest in. I believe this to be insider trading.

    Is anything being looked into regarding this matter?

    There is no e-mail being accepted by the Board of Ethics in the House or Senate with exception to there own constituants and therefore are not easily accessible to address these matters to the general public.”

    Here is the link to the SEC enforment complaint form

  5. seanbond said

    Hey You guys see this?


  6. highplainsgirl said

    Excellent effort, and your letter was very professional! I hope it has some impact. I write to my congresspeople every time a climate change bill comes up, and I have no idea if they give a “ahem”. But I’m doing it anyway… better than whining to my friends while doing nothing.

    • ctlss said

      Thank you, Highplainsgirl. I just sent a copy of my email and the response I got directly to President Obama, at I let them know about my efforts to get in contact with Senator Boxer and Representative Lofgren. I also ask if they could please get an email address for Senate Select Committee on Ethics and House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.

    • ctlss said

      And it is better than whining, and gives you a feeling of empowerment.

  7. ctlss said

    I sent a copy of my letter to Barbara Boxer (D-California) who is the chair person of Senate Select Committee on Ethics. I also attempted to send on the Zoe Lofgren (D-California) the chair person of House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct. I was unable to send one to Rep. Lofgren, as her office only accepts emails from her constituents in the 16th Congressional District of California. There needs to be email addresses for these chair people available to all citizens of this country if they are going to chair these national committees.

  8. ctlss said

    All I did was follow italco’s lead. He found this conflict of interest. Since I have Lupus and no insurance, and no way to get it, health care is one of my major concerns. Thanks, italco for all the work you do.

    • italco said

      You are very welcome Ctlss…this is a fight we must win…I hope together, our efforts have a positive effect.

    • ctlss said

      I also sent an email back to Kim Haplan, thanking her for her timely response and for pointing me in the right direction.

  9. jruthkelly said

    Awesome! This one’s at the top of my to-do list.

    • italco said

      Jruth – I know you have already sent in a response to Senator Kay Hagan and received a candid response. Your continued efforts are commendable…thank you.

  10. Lette said

    Great news! I didn’t know about these conflicts. Way to go CT!

    • italco said

      Unfortunately they seem to govern themselves…but at least we have a forum to address. If that doesn’t work we will utilize the media during the 2010 elections to get them to hear us…I hope anyone who sends in an e-mail, will post any responses they get back here…maybe if we collaborate our efforts we will have a louder voice.

  11. italco said

    It gives me renewed motivation…we have been beating the drum a long time and for ctlss to get us pointed in the correct direction is absolutely outstanding news….I had to share. Kudos to CTLSS

  12. Auntiebjw said

    BRAVO! That is great what ctlss did.

    What gets to me is how the government is so departmentalized that no one takes the bull by the horn to “refer” correspondence to the right department. Citizens have to walk it through.

    However, it is good to know who to contact. That means that the rest of us can get correspondence out without having it “refused” for lack of jurisdiction.

    Way to go, ctlss!!!

  13. Very impressive!! So quick in a reply, as well. Thank you ctlss for taking the time to address this issue!

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