Former Drug Lobbyist Named as Ted Kennedy's Replacement


Over at the Examiner, Tim Carney has done some helpful digging on Paul Kirk, the temporary appointee to Ted Kennedy's vacant Senate seat: 

If a health-care overhaul clears the U.S. Senate this year, the key vote may be a former drug industry lobbyist who has helped raise millions of dollars from drug companies and insurers.

Paul Kirk, chosen by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to fill the seat of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy until a special election in January, will be the 60th Democratic senator, and he looks like a reliable vote for President Barack Obama's push to overhaul the health-care sector.

Kirk could deliver the 60th vote on health care—crucial to break a potential Republican filibuster—which would be fitting for a "reform" effort that will enrich the drug industry and could provide a boon for private insurers.

From 1996 through the end of 1999, Kirk lobbied on behalf of drug maker Hoechst Marion Roussel, which later changed its name to Aventis. Kirk, a lawyer at law firm Sullivan & Worcester, was the only registered lobbyist on Hoechst's account for those four years, in which the drug maker paid more than $150,000 for his lobbying on "FDA Reform legislation."

Kirk wrote on the forms that he lobbied only the U.S. Senate.

Carney's conclusion:

This is precisely the sort of revolving door Obama promised to shut down: Kirk was a top staffer for Kennedy, became a well-paid private sector lawyer, and then lobbied Kennedy's colleagues and presumably Kennedy on behalf of the very companies being regulated.

The GOP is looking to block Kirk's appointment on constitutional grounds

Reason's Ron Bailey wrote about the corporate welfare buried in cap-and-trade legislation here, and noted how the Podesta family has benefited from energy lobbying here. I wrote about how the Obama administration empowers lobbyists here