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"Democrats Warned on Asbestos Bill"

We missed it at the time, but last April the Washington, D.C. publication Roll Call ran quite a gripping article on the pressure that trial lawyers were bringing to bear on Senate Democrats not to support asbestos reform. The article has been making the rounds on the Hill again lately and is online; a few tidbits:

Trial lawyers are advising Democratic Senators that the current proposal to compensate victims of asbestos exposure not only shortchanges their clients, but could curtail future campaign contributions made by asbestos lawyers to Democrats.

...[Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) acknowledged] Senators were aware of the rumors that some fundraisers might be postponed.

Another liberal Democratic Senator expressed outrage at the idea that some asbestos lawyers might link a Senators' policy decision to a campaign donation.

"The trial lawyers have reached a point where they think they run the place," said the Senator, who spoke on the condition of anonymity....

[Peter Kraus, a partner in the Dallas firm Waters and Kraus, said:]
"The people I need to go and raise money from for [Democrats] are the same people I go to raise money to help oppose this bill."

Kraus is a prolific contributor, personally giving more than $150,000 to Democrats in the 2004 election cycle, according to PoliticalMoneyLine. He also helps raise money from other people for the party.

But Kraus said if the bill is approved, then some of these donors will be unable to make future contributions because their livelihood would be greatly affected.

"There are a lot of people I raise money from who will not be making money in this litigation and will not be able to contribute, I am sure, to political campaigns," he said.

Also be sure to catch the great typo at the end of the article, in a quote from an unidentified Democratic Senator: "We provide substantial support for citizens' rights to get an attorney and seek regress through the courts and we will continue to do that." Love that "regress".



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.