Seeking Favors Special Interest Groups Net Fisher In Ohio

Promoted from diaries. – Moe Lane

As Ohio Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher prepares for his anticipated run against Rob Portman for Voinivich’s Senate seat in Ohio, some powerful, budget-busting special interest groups are casting their bread upon the water in hopes of netting themselves yet another friend in Washington should Fisher prevail. But then, Fisher hand picked a key adviser with a history of delivering dollars to politicians in exchange for favors, so maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Nursing homes and utility companies are both powerful interest groups that Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland has taken on publicly. Now, both are contributing to the U.S. Senate campaign of his right-hand man, Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher.

Lobbyist Alan Melamed is a senior adviser to Fisher. The two go back a long way and Melamed was a key player in extracting large Ohio budget concessions for Nursing Homes from Democrats to whom they gave large donations with Melamed serving as the middle-man.

COLUMBUS: Nursing homes and hospitals were the big winners when Ohio House Democrats rolled out their version of the state’s $54.3 billion two-year budget today.

Democrats in the House are using a series of clever maneuvers that are aimed at drawing down more federal funds for the two industries.

The fact is that the two industries have been engaged in industrial-strength lobbying since Gov. Ted Strickland introduced his budget plan in February.

It didn’t hurt that one of the main lobbyists, Alan Melamed, has worked closely with Speaker Budish and they have been friends and political allies for more than 20 years.

The amount of money that went to politicians in the Ohio budget deal was so large, even the AP pronounced it “unique.” Now, Fisher appears to be relying on Melamed to do what he does best, raise money for pols in exchange for anticipated favors. Unfortunately, if Ohio elects Fisher, they might just be ensuring that there’s yet another pig at the trough once he hits bailout crazy Washington and his cash sources start looking for payback. And they always do.

In Ohio, donations in the thousands of dollars are unique for politicians at the state level.

Those, as they say, are just the facts:

Among big donors to Fisher from the nursing home industry were Bruce Daskal, CEO of Legacy Health Services of Parma, and his wife Sharon, who gave a combined $7,200; and Morton Weisberg and Nicole McEwen of Multi-Care Management, who gave $4,800 each.

Fisher’s donors also included Skilled Nursing Care Coalition lobbyist Alan Melamed, who along with an employee gave nearly $4,000. House Speaker Armond Budish, a Beachwood Democrat who has endorsed Fisher’s Senate bid, also gave $1,000, as did several other House Democrats.

Budish, Melamed and Fisher are friends, and Melamed represented the nursing home coalition during recent negotiations with Budish and the Strickland administration over a hike in the nursing home bed tax that was advanced by the governor. Melamed also was recently named a senior adviser to Fisher’s Senate campaign.

Cross-posted at RiehlWorldView.