Considering where this series began -- with Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts' $525,000 in campaign contributions from the health-care industry -- it ends on a number that's almost pathetic by contrast.
When I started counting campaign contributions earlier this month, Roberts was the first; his amount struck me as outrageous (Roberts sits on the Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, so I wasn't surprised that medical interests were heavily invested in his work). I didn't know what I'd find when I started adding up everyone else's. (What I found: Rep. Dennis Moore, $62,000; Sen Claire McCaskill, $132,000; Rep. Sam Graves, $85,500; Senators Kit Bond, $20,500; and Sam Brownback, $11,500; and Lynn Jenkins, $33,129). I did all of this in mostly random order and never set out to end with the politician who had the lowest amount.
But that's how it happened. In 2007-2008, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver's campaign committee banked a total of $554,099 (it apparently doesn't cost much to run against Jacob Turk; in his 2008 election, Cleaver got 64 percent of the vote to Turk's 35 percent; the Republican was challenging Cleaver for the second time). Of that total, a whopping $9,500 came from medical-industry interests:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield
American Society of Anesthesiologists
American Medical Association
Which kind of makes me feel sorry for the guy. Considering what he's been through at the hands of reform opponents, maybe Bayer could at at least kick in a couple extra aspirin, too.