HIGHTOWER: Newt's Secret Task Force

"Double-double political trouble/Media burn and money bubble/Filet of donkey meat/Into the cauldron, boil and eat/Eye of Newt, ethics of hog/Woolly of thought, mean as dog." "Ethics of Hog" is right! Back in '93, Newt Gingrich puffed himself up to condemn Hillary Clinton for creating a legislative task force on health-care reform that worked in secret. He was right, she was wrong. But guess who recently created his own secret legislative task force: The Newt! Now his task force has proposed recommendations to re-write the laws for you workers who get injured on the job. So, guess how many seats on his secret nine-member task force were given to those who speak for injured workers? None! Absolutely zero. An how many seats to those who profit from injured workers? All nine of them! Such notorious, anti-worker outfits as Wal-mart, Winn-Dixie, Disney Inc., and Bell Atlantic had seats on Newt's little legislative re-write board, but workers had no say at all. And who better to head his task force than Richard Scrushy, the top dog of HealthSouth? HealthSouth is a chain of rehab centers that makes a billion a year by holding-down what injured workers are allowed to get in the way of medical treatment. Why would Scrushy get such a self-serving slot on Newt's secret task force? Because he has put big bucks into Gingrich's pockets. Two years ago, Scrushy held a corporate fund-raiser that put $38,000 into Newt's re-election, and he and other HealthSouth executives have put up $42,000 more for the speaker's campaigns. Plus, the firm gave $15,000 to the foundation that funds The Newt's infamous college course in which The Newt heaps praise on the work of HealthSouth. Always keep your eye on The Newt -- he's a slimy little salamander.

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