Business As Usual: Officials deny there's a link of gaining lobbyist access by giving to top lawmakers' cause (Sacramento Bee)
Hospitals, drug companies, doctors, dentists and others with a stake in the health care debate, according to the Bee, have put up about a fifth of the roughly $2.6 million collected by those advocating a change in the 1990 term limits law. The measure, if passed by voters Feb. 5, would lower from 14 to 12 the total number of years a lawmaker could serve, but also would allow Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez and Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata to remain in their leadership posts for up to six and four years, respectively, beyond 2008.
Even though the don't officially support the measure, some donors from the health care industry are giving directly to the term limits committee, which is run by Núñez's top political adviser.
One donor admits his organization gave to guarantee access to the top players in health care reform. "The whole system of campaign fundraising is such that you have a (political action committee) because you want to get access to people," said Gary Robinson, the executive director of the Union of American Physicians and Dentists, which gave $5,000 to the term limits measure in late June. "I think everybody's contribution relates to the ability to go to the fundraisers and meet the staff and the members," Robinson said.
Team Núñez, on the other hand, doesn't see a problem.