What our elected officials say in public -- even when it's calling the President of the United States a liar in the middle of his speech -- is often half of the story, or often less than that. Was that really Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina shouting "You lie!" at President Obama -- or was it the money talking?
Joe Wilson -- the Republican Congressman from South Carolina who is at the center of Washington's latest brouhaha for shouting "you lie" at President Barack Obama during the president's health reform speech before a joint session of Congress -- has long relied on financial support from health-related industries. Two of his top staffers have also lobbied and advocated for health-related clients in recent years.
Wilson was first elected to Congress in 2001, and over the course of his career, his committees have received about $455,800 from political action committees and individual employees within the health sector. The majority of this sum (about $267,900) comes from health professionals, which are Wilson's No. 1 top industry backer. Individual employees and PACs associated with pharmaceutical manufacturers have contributed $100,650 to his committees over his career.
Specifically, the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, the Lexington Medical Center, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the American Dental Association have donated between $22,000 and $32,000 to Wilson over his career and are all among his top 20 financial supporters.
Of course, it might help if someone told the industry lobbyists -- and Wilson -- that most actual doctors want the public option for healthcare reform.