What do the Sandlers want for their millions? Perhaps to return us to the days of the partisan press. The couple made their fortune, which Forbes estimates at $1.2 billion, at Golden West Financial Corp. In recent years, they've spent millions on politics. The Federal Election Commission database shows the two of them giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democratic Party campaigns. In 2004, Herbert Sandler gave the MoveOn.org Voter Fund $2.5 million, again according to the FEC database. The Center for Responsive Politics Web site reports donations of $8.5 million from Herbert and Marion to the 527 group Citizens for a Strong Senate, in the 2004 cycle. CSS was formed by "a group of strategists with close ties to former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards," writes the washingtonpost.com's Chris Cillizza. American Banker reported in 2005 that Herbert also gave $1 million to the California stem cell initiative and that the pair have also funded the progressive Center for American Progress.While I do feel there's a need for healthy disclosure of industry ties with physician groups, it's helpful to keep in perspective the origins of the recent investigative reporting. Is it meant to beat down doctors further into submission in the health care debate to make us cogs in the corporate wheel rather than innovators in care?
It's low-hanging fruit to take shots at the sources of funding to doctors' societies. I wonder if Propublica will perform similar reporting for the sources of funding for members of our Judiciary?