I thought that with my last post I was done with the trial lawyer thing, but then I started wondering again. Why do trial lawyers support Democrat candidates so disproportionately? Do they truly believe in the liberal/progressive cause? Or are they simply investing their money where they think they’ll get the most return?
It seems that these firms advertise on Fox News in a huge way. In fact, with the exception of the local attorneys that I’ve mentioned, all the lawyers I’ve listed are advertisers on Fox News (I’ve got a few more to add at the end of this post). If you can believe what the reporters and politicians say, Fox News is the equivalent of the devil. Or maybe Rush Limbaugh is the devil and Fox News is hell. If that’s true, then where does Glenn Beck fit in? I don’t know how it all works, but Fox News is supposed to be bad (although I’m convinced that anyone who demonizes Fox News has never actually watched it). Do these firms also advertise on MSNBC or CNN?
I was further annoyed by Harry Reid’s response to a message I sent him. In my message I expressed my concern that Washington seems hellbent on passing a strange health care bill but they aren’t doing anything to stop the bleeding when it comes to job loss. I also mentioned that in regard to health care I consider tort reform to be a legitimate problem – much more so than the issues addressed in the bill. He seems to be avoiding legitimate problems while focusing on things that are just not critical right now. Finally, I demanded that he consider the voice of the people and discontinue his support of the current Democrat health care proposals. As always, in his response he just explained to me why I’m wrong and why he’s right. In part his message said this:
Proponents of tort reform link the rising costs of premiums for medical malpractice insurance to the rising cost of personal and group policy health insurance and assert that limiting punitive damage awards could significantly reduce the costs of health care. Critics of tort reform note that caps on punitive damages at the state level have been wholly ineffective in reducing the cost of malpractice insurance and have only served to enrich insurance companies. Furthermore, because medical malpractice suits result in less than one percent 1% of total health care costs, tort reform would do little to lower the overall cost of health care.
Just once I would like to get a response that says something like, “I value your opinion and will absolutely make it part of my consideration.” It will never happen, though.
Why would Harry Reid support tort reform? According to OpenSecrets.org, four of the top 20 donors for his 2010 campaign are trial attorney groups that would certainly be negatively impacted by tort reform. The second ranked donor is none other than Weitz & Luxenberg, a group that was previously featured here. Counting donations only from trial attorney groups in the top 20 (Weitz & Luxenberg, Simmons Cooper LLC, Waters & Kraus and Cooney & Conway), Harry Reid has received $203,800. In other words, about .22% of his donors contributed more than 7.6% of his current donations. All four firms specialize in asbestos/mesothelioma litigation. There are several more firms in the top 100 and I’m sure even more among the more than 1,800 donors. So, Harry Reid is clearly beholden to a bunch of shady lawyers that aren’t even located in Nevada while openly rebelling against the people who put him in office.
As a comparison, I looked up the same information for John Ensign. I could not find one trial attorney group among the top 100.
I don’t know if I’ll ever have answers to my questions. In the meantime, here is more campaign contribution information for attorneys I’ve seen advertising on TV.
First, Baron and Budd. Steve Baron donated $6600 to – that’s right – John Edwards between 2004 and 2007. He also donated $4600 each to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, $2300 to Joe Biden and a whopping $29,500 to the DNC.
Russell Budd was even more generous. Again, $6600 to John Edwards between 2004 and 2007 with similar contributions to the other candidates. He gave $25,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in 2007 and $43,500(!) to the DNC in 2004. It used to be a free country, so I say use your money however you want. On the other hand, how many jobs could have been created with this money? Heck, give me the money and I’ll campaign for the candidates of your choice full time. The check should be for $133,900 (total contributions from 2004 to present). Or you can pay me cash under the table – I think that’s how Democrats work, isn’t it? But I digress.
Next is Adam Pulaski of Pulaski & Middleman. Of course, Mr. Pulaski donated to John Edwards, but it was a measly $1000 in 2004. More interestingly, he also gave a small donation to Ciresi for Senate. Mike Ciresi, of course, is the trial lawyer that was involved in the “big tobacco” class-action lawsuit. The one where he and his firm were thoroughly enriched through arguably devious methods. Strangely, Pulaski also donated a total of $7130 to Lindsey Graham in 2008. Why he would make a donation to a Republican senator from another state seems odd to me. This is certainly something I’m interested in researching further.
David Middleman of Pulaski & Middleman gave only a small $500 donation to Mike Ciresi in 2007. If it’s quality and not quantity that matter, then consider that the only money he donated went to a scummy trial attorney from another state.
As a side note, considering that Ciresi suddenly found himself with painful gobs of cash he seems to be pretty stingy with his money. He gave $1750 to a Minnesota congressman and $2300 to Hillary Clinton. Someone needs to ‘splain to him the rules.
I saved the least interesting for last. I couldn’t go on and on about these attorneys without mentioning Fox News mainstay Binder & Binder. You may remember Charles Binder. He wears a hat:
It seems that most of his donations are for local people, but when he supported a presidential candidate he went for John Kerry (woo!). Same goes for Harry Binder. Each made a $2000 donation to John Kerry – nothing else too remarkable otherwise. There was a large donation to the DNC by a Charles Binder, but I couldn’t confirm this was the same person. BUT, Charles Binder has a program on Air America, so that should be entered into evidence. I’m not sure whether this firm technically counts since they specialize in dealing with the Social Security Administration. I’m inclined to call this business legitimate, but I”ll let you make the call.
Sorry – lots of words and nothing very interesting. I hope I’m done with this subject. Something new next time – I promise.