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Health care lobbyists pay tribute to Kennedy

Image: Edward M. Kennedy
The American Medical Association reported spending $195,965 on an event in March honoring Sen. Edward Kennedy, who is chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.Charlie Neibergall / AP
/ Source: CQ Politics

Some of the largest expenditures from lobbyists and their clients during the first six months of this year went to hosting events and making charitable donations in honor of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass.

On Wednesday, the American Medical Association, for example, reported spending $195,965 on an event in March honoring Kennedy, who is chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, as well as Rep. Nathan Deal, R-Ga, the ranking member on the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health.

Boston-based Partners Healthcare also reported making a $200,000 donation in June toward the Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, a research center to be established in Boston based on the senator’s political career.

The Service Employees International Union, which has sponsored rallies in favor of health care reform, also spent $250,000 earlier this year hosting an event in Kennedy’s honor.

The expenditures continue a trend that began last year of health care companies focusing on Kennedy and his anticipated role in health care overhaul efforts.

At least two dozen registered lobbying organizations spent more than $5.9 million paying tribute to Kennedy and his legacy during 2008, according to a CQ MoneyLine study. The deadline for reporting lobbying expenditures and donations on behalf of lawmakers is midnight tonight.

But reports already filed include: a $250,000 donation from Cigna to the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation in honor of Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, D-R.I., a foundation board member; a $38,720 expenditure by the American Psychological Association Practice Organization to honor Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M.; and $60,715 in expenditures from the Lupus Foundation of America honoring Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., and Rep. James P. Moran, D-Va.