Health Insurance Lobbyâ€™s Stealth Astroturf Campaign Revealed!
Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal reported that AHIP — the multimillion dollar lobbying juggernaut for the health insurance industry — has mobilized 50,000 employees to lobby Congress to defeat the public option. ThinkProgress has learned that AHIP’s grassroots lobbying is being managed by the corporate consulting firm Democracy Data & Communications. DDC has made a name for itself as one of the most effective stealth lobbying firms. Earlier this summer, DDC was caught by reporters using a front group called “Citizens for a Safe Alexandria” to attack the Obama administration for seeking to prosecute Guantanamo Bay prisoners in Alexandria, VA.
According to the server-information hub Domaintools.com, the AHIP grassroots outreach website AHIPAdvocacy.org is hosted on a server owned by DDC. Though DDC conceals the hosting of its other websites using a service called DomainsByProxy, ThinkProgress has obtained a list of the domains hosted on DDC servers. A review of this data shows that DDC maintains the grassroots outreach websites for large health insurance companies, but also for big tobacco and Koch Industries:
– phillipmorrisusaactioncenter.org (Altria)
– tobaccoissues.com (Altria)
– kochpac.com (Koch Industries)
– aetnavotes.com (Aetna)
– healthactionnetwork.org (WellPoint)
– humanapartners.com (Humana)
– ahipadvocacy.org (AHIP)
DDC is a firm that promises “high impact” outreach programs to not only influence the grassroots, but “change attitudes for the long term.”