Skeptic News: Chiropractors pouring money into Wisconsin elections

images (1)From: The Cap Times

In the medical world, the value of chiropractic has long been a point of debate. In Wisconsin politics, however, the value of chiropractors appears to be rapidly increasing, as evidenced by the large amount of money they gave to legislative candidates last cycle.

In 2012, the Wisconsin Chiropractic Association’s (WCA) conduit fund directed $170,115 to state campaign committees. While that figure pales in comparison to the money doled out by larger interests, such as Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) and the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC), it is likely a large enough amount to weigh on the conscience of a legislator when he or she is voting on a bill that could affect the chiropractic industry.

Take, for instance, the campaign of state Rep. Scott Krug, R-Nekoosa, who in November narrowly won re-election to a second term. In the final week before Election Day, the freshman legislator received $19,575 in contributions, a third of which ($6,575) came from chiropractors.

And unlike, say, Karl Rove, the chiropractors appear to have spent their money wisely. With the exception of a $250 contributions to outgoing state Rep. Joe Knilans, R-Janesville, chiropractor dollars only flowed to winners this cycle, including Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, who received $9,026 — more than any other legislator.

In contrast, the conduit for the Wisconsin Medical Society, which represents physicians, only gave $36,025 to all state candidates last year. It’s not as if medical doctors don’t have issues of interest at the Legislature — the WMS lobbied on a number of bills in the last legislative session, including in support of one to limit medical malpractice lawsuits.

Chiropractors, however, feel their ability to practice hinges on being seen favorably in the eyes of those in power.

While chiropractors have only recently begun pouring six-figure sums into electoral politics, they have been a force at the Capitol for years. The WCA has spent between $100,000 and $150,000 on lobbying in each of the past five legislative sessions.

Chiropractors main lobbying issue is the inclusion of Chiropractic care in health insurance packages at no extra cost.  In 2005 such a move failed with lobbying records show that 26 groups registered in opposition to the chiropractors’ bill, including insurance companies, the Medical Society, WEAC and WMC. The Chiropractic Association was the only group that registered in favour.

However the group has won a number of legislative victories in recent years, including getting chiropractic coverage included in BadgerCare Plus Basic, a public health plan for childless adults that was set up by Democrats in 2009 . WCA also successfully lobbied for subsidies for chiropractors to implement electronic health records.

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One Response to Skeptic News: Chiropractors pouring money into Wisconsin elections

  1. The beauty of the US system is that you don’t need to convince the voters, especially if, for most of them, the issue is peripheral. All you need to do is to convince enough legislators that supporting you will make it more likely for them to win re-election, and they will then slip the desired measures in as add-ons to other bills.

    That is why, in the US, campaign funding is one of the most rewarding ways for companies to spend their money.

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