Wednesday, August 17, 2005

GOP Heads for The Big Bucks, No Whammy!

In a quickly prepared press release to the state's "newspapers," Republican leader Tre Hargett says he's abandoning his legislative duties for the cash offered by Pfizer.

Now even though the Legislator was, according to the KNS, only kind-of-sort-applying for work with them during the legislative session, he can't really remember what happened. The KNS story read:

"During this year's legislative session, one of the most hotly debated bills before that [prescription drug] panel was a measure setting the circumstances when one prescription drug may be substituted for a less expensive alternative. Drug companies were actively involved in lobbying the matter.
Pfizer representatives also hosted all Republican legislators at an Outback Steakhouse dinner during the last session.
Hargett said in an interview that he could not recall when he applied for the Pfizer position, though acknowledging that may have occurred while the legislative session was under way. He said he did not go through an interview for the job, however, until after the session.
"That's a logical question to ask. I have looked back and tried to think how I interacted with Pfizer during the session," said Hargett. "I feel very comfortable with that interaction."

The report goes on to add some nebulous 'clarifications
"Hargett said he recalled speaking with Bill Williams, a contract lobbyist for Pfizer, about the legislation, though not the details of that conversation. He said he supported the "generic substitution" portion, but had misgivings about the "therapeutic substitution" portion.
Williams said Pharma, an umbrella organization of pharmaceutical companies that hired a different lobbyist, took the lead role in lobbying the bill - strongly opposing the therapeutic substitution provision.
The version of the bill that ultimately passed included the "generic substitution" provision, but left the "therapeutic substitution" portion to be studied by a special committee.
Hargett said that as Republican leader he had "pushed for a vote" on legislation to stop lawmakers from becoming lobbyists without a year's wait."

Whew! Looks like he made the transition from Legislator to Lobbyist just in time!

Lately, there are so many FBI stings, waltzes and corruption scandals in Tennessee, how on earth can the average voter understand them without the 'spin' from newspapers and lobbysists?

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