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Watchdog Group Says Big Contributors Wield Influence In State Senate

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Aired 2/5/10

A non-profit group that monitors money and politics says California lawmakers often vote with their campaign checkbook in mind. MAPLight.org says a perfect example is a recent vote on a single payer health care system in the state senate.

— A non-profit group that monitors money and politics says California lawmakers often vote with their campaign checkbook in mind.

MAPLight.org says a perfect example is a recent vote on a single payer health care system in the state senate. The bill would eliminate private health insurance.

MAPLight.org found senators who opposed the measure received an average of $43,000 from health insurers in the last two election cycles. Those who voted for it received less than half that amount from insurers.

MAPLight.org's Daniel Newman says it's not a coincidence.

"Now, you're never going to get a legislator to tell you, yes the money influenced my vote," admits Newman. "But our data shows that there is a pattern and there is a correlation. You can't take tons of money without it having it have some effect on you."

However, it's not totally black and white. For example, the top recipient of insurers' money in the last two elections voted for the bill.

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