I'll throw in five bucks to the reward pot.
December 18, 2002 9:09 AM   Subscribe

Hold your Congressman accountable and win $10,000! Site posts a reward for the “Eli Lilly Bandit.” [more]
posted by XQUZYPHYR (20 comments total)
TomPaine.com is offering a $10,000US reward to the first person who can identify which member(s) of Congress inserted the provision in the Homeland Security Bill that made Eli Lilly & Company protected from lawsuits related to their vaccines causing autism in children. The provision, discussed earlier on, is apparently so good and well-supported that not a single member of Congress wants to take credit for it. Eli Lilly, though donating $1.6 million in the last two years to political campaigns, claims to have no idea who did such a generous act either.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:10 AM on December 18, 2002

Excellent post.
posted by the fire you left me at 9:21 AM on December 18, 2002

I'm a little perplexed that this sort of thing - authoring an amendment anonymously - isn't patently illegal. Any congressional triviologists know why aren't there rules to prevent this from happening?
posted by Vetinari at 9:44 AM on December 18, 2002

authoring an amendment anonymously

But it wasn't completely anonymous, was it? Weren't Sections 1714-1717 added by the Select Commitee? If so, doesn't that significantly restrict the search space?
posted by iceberg273 at 10:08 AM on December 18, 2002

I think a vigilante committee should threaten to vacinate the entire congress with old Evil Liar (Eli Lilly) vaccines (which are still being dispensed in many parts of the world - esp. to brown children) unless the guilty party comes forward and repents.
posted by dorcas at 10:13 AM on December 18, 2002

I'm with Vetinari - I thought these processes were necessarily public record. Apparently not. But my obvious ignorance (among many other people's) of how it actually works is another indicator of how well the system works to keep us in the dark.
posted by soyjoy at 10:41 AM on December 18, 2002

XQUZYPHYR - nice post! almost as good as the 'gay german cannibal consensual snuff flick post'

Will $10,000 do the trick? Maybe they should throw in a couple of cutlets from that German guy as a bonus. Politicians are cannibals, right?
posted by troutfishing at 10:42 AM on December 18, 2002

The amendment process
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:51 AM on December 18, 2002

Bill Frist. On behalf of the White House, Mitch Daniels and Eli Lilly and all the dead president's pictures. Although technically the honor goes to Dick Armey as it was "his" bill.

That was way too easy for $10,000. They want fingerprints too? A signed confession perhaps? Armey told the tale on Crossfire recently so perhaps Carville and Armey should split the reward.
posted by nofundy at 11:34 AM on December 18, 2002

I suppose that fact that there is absolutely no link between autism and vaccines is irrelevant, isn't it?

Who cares who insterted the provision - let someone show why a company should be sued for a harm that it did not cause? This is not a gift to Eli Lilly - but it is a take-away from the same bunch of trial lawyers who made asbestos into a fiasco whereupon the attorneys get rich and the people actually harmed get nothing.
posted by Jos Bleau at 12:37 PM on December 18, 2002

wow. what a great little system we've constructed for ourselves. If we have any sort of corporate accountability to the citizenry whatsoever, sleazemonkey class-chasing lawyer fuckwads step in and take 30% off the top, "earning" effectively tens of thousands of dollars per hour. If we instead choose "tort reform", we're getting screwed just as hard by a slightly different dick. now evil bloated plutocrats keep all 100%, then take all the money offshore so the citizenry won't even get a pass at it through taxation or even daily spending.

Jos Bleau: care to cite a study backing up your claim? even if it is not a gift to Lilly, blanket liability exemption for vaccines can't possibly benefit the citizenry at large. I know the drill. The government wants a market sector which is largely exempt from free-market principles to do something. The executives, all of whom became risk-averse little crybabies the second their annual gross topped a billion, drop a fat stack of cash on a senator and say "Nanny Fed, eat our liability for us!"

I own a small business. You know what? Business is risk. I'm a little sick and tired of the goal of American capitalism being to see how fast you can exempt yourself from free-market forces by twiddling the government.
posted by Vetinari at 1:22 PM on December 18, 2002

Nov. 18, 2002 Time Magazine. It was also published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

"The latest study exonerating the MMR vaccine comes from Denmark, where investigators looked at the health records of every child born from 1991 through '98, more than 537,000 children. No matter how researchers analyzed the data, there was no difference in the autism rates of children who received the MMR vaccine and those who did not.

The Danish findings, which were published in the New England Journal of Medicine last week, are persuasive for several reasons. Denmark's socialized medical system has generated one of the most complete health records of any country. So the investigators were able to document accurately both sides of the equation: those who were (or were not) vaccinated and those who developed autism. Even when other factors, such as age at vaccination, were taken into account, there was no difference in autism rates between vaccinated and unvaccinated children. There was no clustering of autism diagnoses in the weeks and months after vaccination. There was no difference in the number of diagnoses of other developmental disorders related to autism in the vaccinated and unvaccinated groups."
posted by Plunge at 1:54 PM on December 18, 2002

The problem with Eli Lilly's sweetheart provision being included in the homeland security bill has less to do with the ongoing battle over thimerosal's risks than it does with enlistinging the aid of administration officials' or congressional elected officials to derail the process of determining liability through evidentiary proceedings in a court of law.
There's sufficient reason to explore possible impropriety, with the knowledge that Bush's Budget Director, Mitch Daniels, was a high-level employee of Eli Lilly for over ten years, Bush Sr. served on Lilly's Board of Directors, and the recent (last summer) appointment of Chairman and CEO of Eli Lilly, Sidney Taurel, to the Homeland Security Advisory Council.
posted by Tiger_Lily at 3:00 PM on December 18, 2002

derail the process of determining liability through evidentiary proceedings in a court of law

You've got to be kidding. All the provision included in the bill does is require that the thimersol lawsuits first go through the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program before they can sue in regular courts, like suits about every other vaccine have had to do since 1986.

If you want to learn more about thimerosal, check out the Wall Street Journal's article The Truth about Thimerosal, which points out that--
  • there are no scientific studies that have ever found a link between vaccines and autism
  • US public health agencies recommended that thimerosal be phased out, not because there was any evidence that it was dangerous, but because anti-vaccine groups would use it to scare people with
  • a child is likely to get more mercury in its bloodstream just by it's mother eating a tunafish sandwich and then breastfeeding, than by getting vaccinations with thimerosal in them
  • even the World Health Organization still endorses the use of thimerosal
...and a variety of other important facts.
posted by wrffr at 5:58 PM on December 18, 2002

The Crossfire in question is from Dec. 5.

This doesn't speak highly of the journalistic standards of TomPaine.com. Or Arianna Huffington's... Perhaps she had invested two much effort in the article by the time the mystery was resolved. It's a shame too, because it seems as though Congress and Lilly may actually have been trying to slip one by. There may have been legitimate cause for criticism... on Dec 4th. This just muddies the waters.
posted by stuart_s at 7:05 PM on December 18, 2002

TomPaine.com is offering a $10,000US reward to the first person who can identify which member(s) of Congress inserted the provision in the Homeland Security Bill that made Eli Lilly & Company protected from lawsuits related to their vaccines causing autism in children.

Why make such a fuss over the corporate pawn who put it in there? It's the dozens of automatons who voted for it that got it made into a law. Ask your Senator or Representative why they supported it.

These things happen all the time in Congress because our congressmen act as if they had no choice in the matter. Most of them vote for political gain, not because something's right or wrong, and because everyone knew that they wouldn't dare vote against homeland security, it was a special interest free-for-all.
posted by oissubke at 10:17 PM on December 18, 2002

I am absolutely not kidding. Am I to understand that you think lawsuits should have to be given a blessing by a political committee before they should be allowed to procede in court? I think that would pretty much destroy any claim to credibility of jurisprudence, dont you? And I don't recall making a stand on whether Thimerosal was safe or not--but in court it'll take one helluva lot more than a Wall Street Journal article to make that case.
posted by Tiger_Lily at 10:47 PM on December 18, 2002

The VICP is not a "political committee", it _is_ a federal court involving the US Court of Federal Claims, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the DoJ.

If you disgree with the court's ruling, you can appeal. Both to the US Court of Federal Claims and to the US Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

And people talk about the VICP capping at $250,000, but that's if the person who was vaccinated dies from the vaccination. There is no mandated limit of payment when someone is injured by a vaccine under the VICP and awards for vaccine caused injuries average $824,463.
posted by wrffr at 11:44 PM on December 18, 2002

Mm-hmm. And if this deal were on the up and up, why add it as an eleventh hour rider to a piece of legislation that the administration and the public were demanding swift passage of? Why not just leave it sit on the House floor and let it stand or fall on its individual merit--like it was slated to do? Because they knew damned well that it wouldn't hold up to scrutiny or debate. Because it absolutely amounts to a time, energy, and financial drain--wrapping potential plaitiffs up in a prescreening process by political appointees. Because they knew if they tacked it on to the Homeland Security Act (under the auspices of protecting those that ostensibly protect the nation), legislators would have to be willing to commit political suicide if they wanted to hold the bill up to debate it.
Rationalize it however you like. In my opinion it was a cynical and sickening thing to do.
posted by Tiger_Lily at 2:02 AM on December 19, 2002

I'm with Tiger_Lily.

Rationalize it however you like. In my opinion it was a cynical and sickening thing to do.
posted by nofundy at 9:37 AM on December 19, 2002

« Older AOL owns Instant Messaging?   |   The Two Towers Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments