Great Minds

Congress' Ghostwriters

Great minds think alike? Not quite. As the House of Representatives has debated the health-care reform bill, more than a dozen lawmakers have made statements that were eerily similar. That’s because they were written, all or in part, by lobbyists for Genentech, one of the world’s largest biotech companies. The New York Times got its hands on emails that show the lobbyists crafted one statement for Republicans and one for Democrats, and their success rate for getting those words in the Congressional Record is rather impressive. Genentech “estimates that 42 House members picked up some of its talking points—22 Republicans and 20 Democrats, an unusual bipartisan coup for lobbyists.” Wrote Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), “One of the reasons I have long supported the U.S. biotechnology industry is that it is a homegrown success story that has been an engine of job creation in this country.” So did Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO).