Trial Lawyers give 97% to Democrats
Image via WikipediaDavid Freddoso:
When United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard described the Democratic Party's focus on "the people who take showers after work, not before," he most certainly did not have trial lawyers in mind. But the plaintiff's bar has long been one of the Democrats' most ardent and loyal special interest groups, a source of perennial financial support to the party.There is more.
A detailed Washington Examiner analysis of the top 110 plaintiffs' firms in America shows that their employees and partners gave about $7.3 million to political campaigns during the last cycle, with almost every penny -- 97 percent -- going to Democrats. The remaining 3 percent was split almost evenly between independent Senate candidate Charlie Crist of Florida and Republican candidates for federal office.
The political action committee of the American Association for Justice, the trial lawyers' top trade group, was equally friendly to Democrats, giving the party and its candidates 97 percent of AAJ's $2.7 million in 2010 contributions.
Amazingly, the Democratic bias is even more pronounced when only the top 10 plaintiffs firms are considered, with employees and partners there giving $3,459,477 in contributions to federal candidates in 2010, with more than 99 percent going to Democrats and less than 1 percent to Republicans.
In Washington, that kind of generosity translates into clout. In AAJ's case, it provided cover for the group's $4 million lobbying effort on Capitol Hill last year. AAJ scored its first congressional victory on the first bill Obama signed as president -- the Lilly Ledbetter Act, which abolished the statute of limitations on certain gender-discrimination lawsuits against employers.
Trial lawyers also scored a total victory on health care reform, preventing any reforms whatsoever to the malpractice tort system, the source of jackpot settlements and jury awards in many states. Excessive malpractice awards and the resulting practice of defensive medicine add $56 billion to medical costs each year, according to a recent study by the journal Health Affairs.
Their win on medical malpractice may be short lived unless they can get the Senate to block the changes the House would require on limiting malpractice awards. I think this should be one of the stand alone bills modifying the health care monstrosity. It will be a real test of the President's commitment during the State of the Union address.