Max Baucus is second, behind only Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, in number of staffers in OpenSecrets’ “Revolving Door” database. He has played a key role in tax law and healthcare reform, and his staffer-lobbyist network has been intimately involved, as well. I’ll write in more detail on this later, but, in the wake of this morning’s news of Baucus’ retirement, I thought I’d point you to some highlights of the recent years:
- Upon taking control of Congress in 2007, Baucus joined with his House counterpart, Charlie Rangel, to form the Baucus-Rangel Leadership Fund, a joint fundraising committee. They mostly raised money from real estate developers while crowing about tax reform.
- Baucus was intimately tied, through former staffers and PAC money, to Philip Morris. Baucus was also a sponsor of the “Marlboro Monopoly Act,” which benefited Philip Morris.
- Former Baucus chief of staff David Catagnetti was a key lobbyist on Obamacare, representing the likes of GE, the health-insurance lobby, and the drug lobby, while Baucus was the most important lawmaker in drafting the bill.
- Baucus gave much of the Obamacare work to staffer Liz Fowler, a former insurance lobbyist, who later became a lobbyist for drug giant Johnson & Johnson.
- Baucus’s top aides worked with the White House, the DSCC, and the drug lobby to hammer out an Obamacare deal whereby the drug industry got favorable treatment in the bill in exchange for bankrolling ads for the bill and then the Democrats who voted for it.
- Fiscal Cliff corporate tax breaks and Baucus’s alumni network: “Tax breaks for Hollywood, NASCAR, windmills, algae and multinational corporations ended up in the 'fiscal cliff' bill thanks to President Obama, according to Senate Republican sources. But they were spawned by a web of lobbyists, donors and staffers surrounding Democratic Sen. Max Baucus of Montana.”