The Medicines Co. and Bristol-Myers Squibb hired Dick Armey's lobbying firm, DLA Piper, which in turned controls* is linked to FreedomWorks, the group behind the town hall riots at which "ordinary" citizens shout down anyone who wants to discuss healthcare reform, Alternet claims.
The protesters -- who show up at congressional district meetings where healthcare reform is to be discussed -- have gotten a lot of play on Fox News Channel as they shout "read the bill!" and "tyranny!" at panelists. The shouting is often so bad the meetings dissolve into chaos. The events are videotaped, where they end up on TV and YouTube as inspiration. The protesters have been criticized for being organized by FreedomWorks, a Republican lobbying group, and because some of the protesters are not the moms and dads they claim to be but Republican party officials.
Alternet claims BMS and TMC hired DLA Piper, whose employee is Armey, the chairman of FreedomWorks, to lobby for them on healthcare:
In Washington's K Street corridor, Dick Armey is a very important man -- so important, in fact, that he was scooped up, upon his retirement from Congress, by the lobbying firm DLA Piper.
Piper lobbies on behalf of health-care industry interests, including Bristol-Myers Squibb, but its top health-care-industry client, according to OpenSecrets.org, is The Medicines Co., a small, below-the-radar firm that has paid Armey's lobbying firm nearly $2.4 million since the beginning of 2008 -- nearly 15 percent of DLA Piper's overall lobbying income for the period.BMS has spent more than $1 million this year on lobbying. TMC has spent more than $2 million. * Correction: DLA Piper denies it controls Armey and BMS denies it retained Armey.