Powering the drug lobby with taxpayer dollars

Letter to the editor

Posted: Monday, February 24, 2003

Perhaps one of the reasons Sen. Kim Elton courageously cast the one dissenting Senate vote against funding efforts to promote drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) is that much of these public funds are so foolishly and shamelessly wasted.

Case in point: The latest issue of AARP Bulletin (one of two publications by the largest association of senior citizens in America) identifies three "senior groups" who are in fact front organizations for a huge lobbying effort largely organized by the U.S. pharmaceutical industry.

One of these front groups is the so-called "United Seniors Association." And guess who gave that organization more than $181,000 of your money? Answer: Arctic Power, the pro-drilling group through which the Alaska Legislature funnels most of it pro-drilling state dollars.

Why are Alaska's precious dollars being funneled into a big and powerful Washington, D.C., lobby whose principal purpose is to promote the profits and agendas of the drug industry?

Perhaps, as one who opposes drilling in the refuge, I should be happy to see the money so ineffectually spent. But I would much rather see your money and mine spent on education, health programs, public protection and other legitimate state government purposes.

Thanks Kim. Keep up the great work.

(During eight terms representing Juneau in the Legislature, I cast lone votes in the 1970s and '80s against ANWR-drilling appropriations.)

Mike Miller


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