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Genentech Puts Words In the Mouths of Congress Members 229

theodp writes "In the official record of the historic House debate on overhauling health care, the speeches of many lawmakers echo with remarkable similarities. Often, that was no accident. Statements by more than a dozen lawmakers were ghostwritten by Washington lobbyists working for Genentech. E-mail obtained by the NY Times shows that lobbyists drafted one statement for Democrats and another for Republicans. Genentech, a subsidiary of Swiss drug giant Roche, estimates that 42 House members picked up some of its talking points — 22 Republicans and 20 Democrats, an unusual bipartisan coup for lobbyists. ... The statements were not intended to change the bill, which was not open for much amendment during the debate. They were meant to show bipartisan support for certain provisions, even though the vote on passage generally followed party lines. ... Asked about the Congressional statements, a lobbyist close to Genentech said: 'This happens all the time. There was nothing nefarious about it.'"

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