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December 28, 2010 05:51 PM UTC

Shannon Csotty, PhRMA, and Speaker McNulty

  • by: bullshit!

Shannon Csotty is a well known at the Colorado Capitol. A long time lobbyist for the Kenney Group, most recently in charge of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) account. Some Democrats may have gotten to know Ms. Csotty during this time, as she worked with local groups in support of federal health care reform, which PhRMA supported.

But that could be where the good feelings end. While PhRMA supported the health reform legislation, they have consistently fought against reforms at the state level that would have helped patients at the expense of the pharmaceutical industry’s high profits. Back in October of 2006, Rep. Jack Pommer wrote of PhRMA’s unhelpful influence in a blog post titled “Enough to Make You Sick”:

First, it’s only attacking legislators who voted for drug discounts. They voted for a bill that would make Colorado part of a multi-state buying pool. That pool uses its buying power to negotiate discounts with drug companies. Those discounts save the states money when they buy drugs for Medicaid, and states can pass on those savings to people without insurance. If you have insurance, your insurance company already negotiates discounts.

Second, the ad comes from PhRMA. PhRMA is financed by the big drug companies, like Pfizer, Schering-Plough, Merck, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bayer and others. PhRMA spends a fortune fighting to keep people from getting discounts on drugs. Why would it attack a legislator for voting against discounts?

To understand that, you have to know that PhRMA is the pharmaceutical industry’s version of the Tobacco Institute. It does the industry’s dirty work so the companies themselves and their executives can (try to) keep their hands clean. That’s what’s going on in Colorado this campaign season. PhRMA is punishing legislators who stood up to its legion of lobbyists…

Sen. Morgan Carroll and other Colorado legislators who have worked on health care issues remember a very different PhRMA than the PhRMA who supported health care reform. As for Ms. Csotty? She’s still listed as PhRMA’s lobbyist, and that’s important because…

I. Colorado must pass a health care exchange bill this year as mandated by federal health reform law. What this bill consists of will determine the workability of health reform in Colorado, and access for hundreds of thousands of Coloradans. In some states, intentionally horrible exchange legislation is being proposed by Republicans in a deliberate attempt to sabotage health care reform.

II. Incoming House Speaker Frank McNulty. Now I am in a very difficult position, because I know something that most of you don’t know, although many at the capitol also know. It was briefly mentioned in the press last month that McNulty went on vacation after the election: this was while some House races were still being counted, and it’s why Rep. Amy Stephens was talking to the press about these races, and not McNulty.

I realize that this blog has a rule against the posting of unsourced information, so I will not attempt to do so. Here is what I am asking of a reporter or somebody (maybe pleading, before it’s too late): ask Frank McNulty who he went on vacation with after the election, and who paid for it. If the answer to those questions does not raise some major, major red flags for you, from an Amendment 41 perspective or a Jack Abramoff perspective, you are not getting what I am trying to tell you.

If I am right, as a reporter can easily confirm, health care reform in Colorado is in grave danger.


46 thoughts on “Shannon Csotty, PhRMA, and Speaker McNulty

  1. In the Gossip column (print edition only) for No. 19, we printed the following:

    “Are congratulations in order for Speaker-elect Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch, that have nothing to do with the new Republican House majority? And will he be changing his relationship status on his Facebook page after his trip to Costa Rica?”

    He has been mum on this subject since getting back.

    1. And don’t get me wrong, I have tremendous respect for the Colorado Statesman. But it seems to me you know enough for some very logical questions to present themselves.

      Question #1 (of many): How does a state legislator earning $30,000 a year afford a trip to Costa Rica?

        1. But McNulty has been running the GOP House campaign for over a year, and has not had much free time for much other work. I should add the 102 days of per diem pay he received too, maybe he saved it up.

          But you have to at least establish this question before you can ask the next: who paid for McNulty’s trip to Costa Rica? And who did he go with?

          (McNulty needs to answer that)

      1. 10 day trip (just as a guide number, haven’t found any info on actual trip time) for 2, round trip with hotel room, as low as $1083 to a high of $2503.  Not exactly outrageous, I could afford that if I wanted to scrimp and save for a year.

        1. Amendment 41 forbids any gift from a lobbyist to a Colorado state employee. I’m really sorry that this can cramp social lives, or make vacationing together difficult. But it is the god damn law.

          We are talking about PhRMA’s lobbyist and the new Speaker of the House, and the most important health care legislation Colorado has seen in a generation. Amendment 41 is just the beginning…

          1. Does the law mean a legislator has to pay their half for any date or trip? What about if they’re married? In many cases a legislator’s significant other makes more money and so they’ll be the one paying most/all for the trip.

            This definitely could be problematic. And if the rules are relaxed for a spouse, do we give the same for same-sex couples where marriage is not allowed?

        2. But I was responding to the question of how someone making $30,000 a year can afford to go to Costa Rica? (That is assuming he does absolutely nothing to earn money the rest of the year.}

      1. There is nothing funnier for the rest of us than seeing an allegedly high powered politician with an ugly woman.  Let’s us little people know that they are still human

                1. Don’t people have something better to do than make up illicit romances between people who are not here to defend themselves? If the author of this diary had anything more than rumour (like actual evidence) of a conflict of interest, that might be interesting. Without it, I view this as nothing more than cheap gossip. Aren’t we above that here?

                    1. Shannon and I were facebook friends. After I mentioned that here, she “de-friended me”. I can honestly say I don’t know her personally at all. I don’t know a number of people I interact with on facebook. I “friend” mutual friends who share my interests. I have met truly wonderful people that way.

                      I enjoy political discussions there just like I do here. The only difference is, on the blogs, most people are anonymous. On facebook, people are more likely to “own” their opinions (especially since their mother and third grade teacher could be reading every word they write).

                      My objection is not to the charge you make — I have no idea either way. My objection is accusing any person of unethical behavior without evidence. If you have evidence, by all means, please present it. Otherwise, it is simply gossip. My name is here for the world to see (yours is not). I don’t want to be part of slandering another person.

                      Have a Happy New Year, bullshit.

    1. There was a speaker of the house during the past decade who was not only dating a lobbyist but eventually married, and then divorced her. Well known around the capitol. He never recused himself on any of the votes affecting her industry, which I think also was health field related.

      1. I find the tendency by the press to ignore something so obviously unethical, simply on the grounds that it may have happened before, ridiculous and totally indefensible. The fact that one person gets away with robbing a bank does not make it okay for somebody else to rob it later, does it?

        Seriously, what the hell is that if not a total abdication of the media’s responsibility?

  2. Speaking of sourcing, “bullshit” (nice choice of username btw) and the rest of us posters can hide targeted comments behind the veil of anonymity.  Give it a rest!  Two single people like each other — no rules were broken and bullshit decides to politicize.  Gosh, illicit extramarital affairs and you don’t talk about those?   Obvious conflicts of interests and you don’t address those?  Variable and inconsistent reportings to the SOS and you don’t speak to those?  First of all, learn the state laws requiring registration as a lobbyist —  not just lobbyists but advocates are required to register in certain situations.  Sounds like you have it in for PhRMA and the GOP — hope you never need a medicine or want to run a business.

    1. to post on a single issue. You have this and only this comment as posting history.

      Hard to take you seriously.

      Hard to think that you haven’t been put up to this post.  How much is PhRMA paying you?

      1. I’m about as cynical as it gets, and the only one I’m being paid by is Soros — still, I’m having a little trouble finding much to argue with “Serious” about (except for that utterly ridiculous last sentence).

        Lot’s of innuendo along with some hoped-for tawdry, certainly not any “reporting,” and not much else that I see here.

    2. As we both know, I am simply pointing out that PhRMA’s lobbyist appears to be shacking up with the new GOP House Speaker just ahead of introduction of the health exchange bill in the Colorado House.

      If I am to take your authenticity at face value, like you take mine, you just confirmed for everybody that the basic details of this are correct.

      I appreciate that.

      1. Not sure ‘shacking up’ is the correct choice of words, but you have a point.

        If McNulty didn’t pay for his ticket on this trip, than that is in violation of Amend41.

        If he paid his own way or reimbursed someone later, not sure this is a thing.

        Frankly, McNulty, and anyone else for that matter, can make whoopie with whomever they want, as long as they follow the rules.

          1. That is exactly what I want. With receipts (trust but verify).

            Once that minimal MSM reporting happens, the acknowledgment of some other, perhaps much bigger issues with this situation is likely to follow. But one step at a time, so nobody gets their feelings hurt in the process.

  3. The ethics commission, in one of their first position papers/rulings, said the following with regard to things related to personal relationships:

    One of the exceptions to the Section 3 gift ban is a gift or thing of value “given by

    an individual who is a relative or personal friend of the recipient on a special occasion.”

    The term “special occasion” is not defined in the Article. The Commission believes that

    the term “special occasion” should be broadly construed so as not to preclude public

    employees and officials from enjoying social situations available to other citizens. The

    term “special occasion” should not be restricted to birthdays, anniversaries and

    holidays; nor should it necessarily mean events that are rare or unusual. A special

    occasion may occur on a regular basis, such as a weekly meal with friends or family.

    Therefore, the Commission finds that gifts or other things of value given by

    relatives or personal friends are not a breach of the public trust and are therefore

    permissible provided that:

    1. It can be shown under all of the relevant circumstances that it is a family or

    personal relationship rather than the governmental position that is the controlling

    factor; and

    2. The public official’s or employee’s receipt of the gift or other thing of value

    would not result in or create the appearance of:

    a. Using his or her office for personal benefit;

    b. Giving preferential treatment to any person or entity;

    c. Losing independence or impartiality; or

    d. Accepting gifts or favors for performing official duties.

    The question, of course, becomes whether the trip influences the recipient, even if given by someone with whom he has a personal relationship.

    1. If you, a lobbyist, can’t buy me, a legislator, even a single silly cup of coffee … much less lunch at The Palm, or tickets to a ball game … I guess there’s only one thing left that you can do for me.

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