State Senator Accused of Being in Health Industry's Pockets

Leland Yee is rumored to be considering run for San Francisco mayor

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    AP
    While naturally Leland Yee would deny accusations that he's been bought by health lobbyists, an analysis of his voting record suggests otherwise.

    In the last two election cycles, State Senator Leland Yee has taken in nearly $80,000 in contributions from the healthcare industry according to a report from MAPLight.org, which tracks who funds politicians and how they vote.

    Yee, who represents the state's 8th Senate District, which includes parts of San Francisco and much of the peninsula, received $5,000 more than the next highest senator from industry lobbyists.

    And while Yee was a coauthor of Senator Mark Leno's single-payer healthcare plan bill, he didn't have to worry about losing support from healthcare lobbyists because Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has pledged to veto it. (That said, Yee has pushed for single-payer bills since before Schwarzenegger entered office.)

    In votes on other healthcare regulation and reform issues, Yee, a former psychologist, has generally taken positions favored by healthcare corporations, leading the media critics at BeyondChron to compare him to the conservative "Blue Dog" Democrats who have watered down and stalled national healthcare reform while raking in campaign cash from industry lobbyists.

    Adam Keigwin, Yee's chief of staff, disputed that characterization and argued that Sacramento's often-obscure legislative rules made it difficult to discern Yee's true record on healthcare issues. Yee's office is preparing a more detailed response to the BeyondChron article.

    Yee is widely believed to be considering running for mayor of San Francisco in 2011.

    Jackson West never liked Yee's grandstanding on the issue of violence in video games.

    This article has been updated to clarify Yee's history of voting on single-payer healthcare bills.