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Who outspends whom in ballot battles?

A group called the Institute on Money in State Politics has issued a report entitled Tort Laws on Trial: Lawsuit Liability Measures, 2004 (PDF), published March 21 and written by Rachel Weiss. The 20-page report contains a wealth of information on who spent what in state ballot battles; reader Beth Caucci directs our attention to a few noteworthy passages:

For their part, plaintiffs� lawyers claimed to be outgunned by the deep pockets of doctors, hospitals and insurance companies. A spokesman for the Association of Trial Lawyers of America contended that �the insurance industry, the drug industry, the hospital and nursing home industry have far more money than people injured by medical malpractice and their lawyers.� However, lawyers contributed $33.8 million to ballot committees in the five states, or 58 percent more than the $21.4 million the health-care sector contributed. All but $6,550 of the $33.8 million went to committees opposing limits, supporting limit repeals, or supporting measures that would retaliate for liability limits. The health sector includes doctors, hospitals and drug companies. Even when contributions from the insurance industry � mostly to committees in Nevada � are factored in, lawyers still contributed 24 percent more money....

Although insurance companies � part of the finance, insurance and real estate sector � often are accused of financing efforts to place caps on damages, the insurance industry contributed slightly more than $5.7 million, or just less than 8 percent of the total given in the five states with medical malpractice ballot measures. Committees in Nevada collected 94 percent, or $5.4 million, of this money. Nevada had one ballot measure that would increase regulation of insurance companies, as well as overturn medical malpractice liability measures.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.