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In-Depth Interview: Democratic-written HEROES Act Bails Out States, Hospitals, and GOP-leaning Lobbying Groups

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Democracy activists Adam Eichen and Andrew Perez seek your help in lobbying against corporate lobby groups by pressing to remove HEROES Act clause that would bail out Chamber of Commerce, PHaRMA and other groups.Adam Eichen, co-author of Daring Democracy (with Frances Moore Lappé) returns to our program, along with Andrew Perez, a researcher and reporter who exposes money in politics.  They are co-founders of the new Democratic Policy Center, a progressive advocacy group.

Their current mission is to expose a section of the $3 trillion relief bill called the HEROES Act, which was written and passed by the Democratic House majority.  It has many good elements, but Eichen and Perez are sounding the alarm about a section that offers funding to “small nonprofits”, defined to include trade groups that lobby for corporate interests.  This not only would siphon money from legitimate nonprofits, but would subsidize well-funded corporate trade groups that lobby for interests that are staunch opponents of the Democratic agenda.

Perez explains the different types of groups that fall under the IRS code section 501(c) which includes social welfare groups (501(c)3), advocacy groups, including “dark money” political groups who don’t disclose donors (501(c)4 and potentially toxic lobby organizations (501(c)6).  Perez recently published an article at Jacobin that offers lots of details.

We also discuss a pricey giveaway to the for-profit health insurance industry that funds COBRA extensions for people who’ve lost their employer coverage, and how health insurance lobbyists have effectively stalled a move for a “public option” for health insurance in Colorado.