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Posts by Cole

Accountability | Virginia

Va. Delegate Bobby Orrock Raised 99.6% of Campaign Cash This Year From Corporations, Special Interests

By Cole Driver on July 30, 2019.

According to a review of public filings by American Ledger, Virginia Delegate Bobby Orrock has raised the overwhelming majority of his campaign funds -- 99.6% -- from large corporations and special interests. Only .4% of Orrock’s total campaign contributions raised since January 2019 came from individual donors.

The healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, in particular, have flooded Orrock’s campaign with cash. Between January and June 2019, Orrock received $16,000 from the Medical Society of Virginia. And in May, Orrock pocketed a $1,000 contribution from health insurance giant Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Health Care | Michigan

Lawsuit Pushed By the Trump Admin Could Leave Thousands in Macomb County Without Health Care

By Cole Driver on July 29, 2019.

An ongoing lawsuit -- supported by the Trump Administration -- winding its way through a federal appeals court has the potential to dismantle the Affordable Care Act in its entirety, upending the economic security and well-being of millions of Americans in the process. In Macomb County, Michigan, that could spell disaster.

During the 2019 open enrollment period, over 30,000 Macomb residents enrolled in a plan on the exchanges, and since the passage of the ACA, over 58,000 residents have gained coverage under the law’s Medicaid expansion.

Health Care | Michigan

As Calhoun County Continues to Suffer From the Opioid Crisis, No Additional Federal Funding in Sight

By Cole Driver on July 29, 2019.

Beginning in the 1990s, pharmaceutical companies -- such as Purdue Pharma -- assured doctors, patients and families that their new medication to relieve pain was non-addictive.

They lied.

Since the 90s, over-prescribed opioids, such as OxyContin and Vicodin, have flooded American households, taking hundreds of thousands of lives by overdose and fueling a public health crisis across the country. And recently, in regions like Calhoun County, Michigan, the opioid epidemic has taken a turn for the worse, leaving some to argue that not enough is being done at the federal level to address the crisis.

Health Care | Michigan

Trump Admin Turns Back on Lake County Residents, Local Public Health Crisis

By Cole Driver on July 29, 2019.

Lake County residents are facing very real public health challenges, raising concerns about proposed federal budget cuts and their potential impact on residents in one of Michigan’s vulnerable counties.

According to the 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment issued by Michigan’s District Health Department #10, Lake County ranked 79th out of 83 counties on “health outcomes” -- a measure of how long people live and how healthy they feel while alive. In the same report, residents of Lake County ranked last of 83 counties across Michigan in how healthy they reported feeling.

Accountability | Maine

Analysis: Susan Collins’ Special Interest Fundraising Has Potential to Undermine Re-Election Campaign

By Cole Driver on July 29, 2019.

According to a review by American Ledger, Senator Susan Collins is relying on outsized donations from special interest groups -- such as Wall Street and the fossil fuel industry -- to fuel her reelection campaign, despite decades-long trumpeting of herself as an independent voice for Mainers.
In her 2019 second quarter filing, Collins received less than 5%, or $98,000, of her itemized fundraising from Maine itself, while pulling in large contributions from special interests such as Wall Street financiers, to the tune of over $300,000. In total, Collins received nearly $400,000 from Wall Street, the pharmaceutical industry, and the fossil fuel industry -- three of the most powerful special interests in Washington -- over the 90 day reporting period.

Accountability | Virginia

Bill DeSteph Held a Fundraiser at a Men’s-Only Club with a History of Anti-Semitism and Racism

By Cole Driver on July 19, 2019.

In June 2019, Bill DeSteph, a State Senator representing Virginia’s 8th district, held a fundraiser in a club which has a sordid history of denying admission to women, Jewish and black Americans.

The fundraiser, tabbed at $125 per person, was hosted at the historically all-male Commonwealth Club in Richmond, Virginia, which was originally founded by former Confederate military officers.

Accountability | North Carolina

NC Republican Gubernatorial Hopeful Dan Forest Endorsed Racist Supreme Court Justice

By Cole Driver on July 18, 2019.

In a closed-door fundraiser on Tuesday, Paul Newby, a North Carolina Supreme Court Justice endorsed by Lt. Governor Dan Forest, echoed Trump’s line of racist remarks on four U.S. Congresswomen of color, saying “I will buy you a ticket to leave. I mean just leave.”

Newby’s remarks came just one day before Donald Trump’s rally in Greenville, North Carolina, where he was met with chants of “send her back,” in reference to his high-profile attacks on freshman Congresswoman Ilhan Omar this week, the first Somali-born American in history elected to U.S. Congress.

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