Republican Congressman-turned-lobbyist-turned-congressional candidate Matt Salmon's explanation of doing lobbying work on "Obamacare" bills -- or not doing lobbying work on the bills -- isn't quite satisfying former Arizona House Speaker Kirk Adams.
Adams accused his primary opponent earlier this week of lobbying for the bill's passage, which, if true, would contradict Salmon's pledge to "join the fight to repeal Obamacare" if he's elected to Congress this fall.
Adams presented documentation that the Pharmaceutical Researchers & Manufactures Association (PhRMA) was part of a coalition that made a deal with the White House to support the passage of "Obamacare." Two of the pharmaceutical companies in PhRMA listed Salmon as one of their lobbyists during this time.
(You can see Adams' case here.)
Salmon does have an explanation.
"The truth is members of my former firms lobbied to change a provision in the proposed law which would have restricted access of people with some rare form of diseases from getting the appropriate drug therapy," Salmon said "Both Policy Impact Communications and Upstream Consulting, were hired to point this out to members of Congress and ensure these people receive the access to the medication they require. Never, was I or my firm, ever compensated to support Obamacare in any fashion.
"The firms I worked for were retained only to change this narrow provision," Salmon continued. "I personally never lobbied on behalf of this client, and have always remained completely opposed to the Affordable Health Care Act or Obamacare."
Salmon's still named as an "individual who acted as a lobbyist in this issue area" in disclosure forms, but Adam's campaign manager Chad Heywood still has a couple questions for Salmon.
"If he opposed Obamacare, why are there no public statements or documents showing that opposition?" he asks. "If he is the 'champion for fiscal responsibility' that he claims to be, why did he lobby to expand Obamacare's drug coverage?"
That second one could be the $64,000 question.
"ObamaCare was a complex and complicated issue with many provisions that would hurt not only the taxpayers, but those who require lifesaving drugs," Salmon's campaign said earlier in the week. "Policy Impact Communications and Upstream Consulting, both firms that Matt Salmon previously worked for, advocated on behalf of their clients to oppose a provision in ObamaCare which prohibited access to specialty pharmaceuticals required by a specific population with rare diseases."
That may be the best explanation the public gets about what Salmon was really doing in this lobbying area, but the Adams campaign certainly thinks it has enough to go on the offensive over it.
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