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Nov 24, 2003 - 10:15 AM
Testimony Under Oath Gives Special Interest the "Willies"by Jamie Court
As ArnoldWatch reported Thursday, in its effort to get to the truth underlying the crisis in workers' comp, the Senate has taken the unusual step of requiring all participants in the on-going workers compensation insurance hearings to testify under oath. Arnold called for these hearings and has made lowering workers' comp premiums for business interests a top priority.
And with confidence, longtime lobbyist Willie Washington of the California Manufacturers and Technology Association (CMTA), one of the biggest and most powerful special interests in Sacramento, said that he would have no problem being honest about the workers compensation crisis. "I don't feel I have anything to fear, and I'm not even going to think about it and do what I always do," he told the Orange Country Register on Friday on the question of testifying under oath.
How quickly things change! That evening, Willie's boss at CMTA wrote to Senator Alarcon that the Manufacturers Assoc. would not testify under oath. Apparently, they reflected on the meaning of "oath," and explained to the Senator: "The point is there is no way of guaranteeing the truth and accuracy that could be presented by our representative. . . "
Well, actually, there is. It's called not lying. The real question is: what do they have to hide? When Florida Senators put lobbyists under oath last summer to explain that state's medical malpractice insurance crisis, it came out that the insurers, doctors and hospitals had been misleading the Legislature about the impact of the crisis on healthcare in the state. Under oath, they had to admit that doctors were not leaving the state (doctor attrition was the crux of their campaign) and that insurers were, in fact, very profitable in Florida.
It seems as though, the California Manufacturers Association had hoped it could do with the truth what it does with all its members products: manufacture it.
The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) is calling on the Governor and legislative leaders today to require all future testimony on all bills be conducted under oath as the only way to ensure that other special interests are not manufacturing the truth.
Click here to read the CMTA letter.
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