If you're a Republican, and you don't want the media to pry into your financial conflicts of interest, there used to be a simple method: support Democratic big-government policies.
The latest Republican to try this rule is Bill Frist.
Sam Stein at the Huffington Post reports:
As congressional Republicans ready themselves for a largely symbolic effort to repeal President Obama's health care reform law, at least one former GOP leader is urging them to drop the charade and build on the legislation instead. Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who caused a stir during the construction of health care reform when he said he'd vote for the bill, said it was important to consider the bill the "law of the land" and move on from there.
Frist called for some reforms in the form of "public private partnerships."
But Stein (citing a tweet by me this morning), reports, "He has made a fortune as a result of stock ownership from the family-founded Hospital Corporation of America, the for-profit hospital chain."
Also, as I wrote in my column last year:
Frist is a partner in a private investment firm that bets on health care companies -- and on regulation.... So Frist gets rich by helping pick the health care companies that will get rich. Now he's backing Obamacare -- and winning praise for it.
Look at some of the language on Cressey & Co's webpage. "The Cressey & Company strategy applies unique insights and experience to produce extraordinary results" [emphasis added]. What "unique insights" do you think Frist provides? Another page on the site gives us a hint: "With deep expertise in the healthcare reimbursement and regulatory environments, the Cressey & Company team has invested in almost every for-profit niche of healthcare."
Stein noted Frist's conflicts of interest, but don't expect the rest of the media to be as thorough -- after all, last year, Frist got a free pass as did health-care lobbyist Bob Dole.
Sharing the stage with Frist was Tom Daschle, a K Street consultant for many health-care companies. The venue: The Bipartisan Policy Center.
That's a clue -- if you hear the word "bipartisan," there's a good chance everyone on the marquee is getting paid.