Health Care, Energy Sector Bundled Cash for Udall

April 17, 2014
Sen. Mark Udall

Sen. Mark Udall

WASHINGTON — Andrew L. Woods and Ankit Desai are not household names, but the two K-Street lobbyists have gone out of their way to declare they are tight with Sen. Mark Udall.

Woods, the president of a lobbying firm that represents numerous health-care clients, and Desai, the top lobbyist for a firm that develops liquefied natural gas, were listed on federal campaign records last year as bundlers of campaign cash for the Colorado Democrat.

Woods bundled $59,900 and Desai $23,400 for Udall for Colorado, the senator’s re-election campaign committee, according to papers the organization filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Bundling money is an indirect form of fundraising that allows lobbyists to display their level of access with a politician. The lead donor asks their network of friends to give money to the candidate’s campaign committee, and then delivers the total amount raised in one bundle.

Udall collected more than $243,000 in campaign donations from lobbyists in the current election cycle. The Democrat ranks as the fifth highest recipient of campaign contributions from lobbyists among all federal candidates, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Udall, a freshman senator whose re-election effort this year has come under fire from groups affiliated with David and Charles Koch, two Midwestern industrialists, has sought to position himself as a foe of the out-of-state billionaires.

Campaign spokesman Chris Harris told KDVR last month that Udall “has a long record of fighting to protect Colorado’s way of life and working for real change without compromising his principles or our Colorado values.”

Yet the Udall campaign’s decision to allow two affluent D.C. lobbyists to serve as major bundlers may raise eyebrows among Colorado voters, according to Russ Choma, a spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics.

“In black and white, the (Udall) campaign is saying that it has a relationship with a registered lobbyist, a person who represent a lot of clients. You can see he represents a lot of health and dental companies. I think you should look at his list of clients and see if they’re necessarily in Colorado’s best interests. (Udall) also takes a lot of money from non-lobbyists. But this is black and white,” he said.

Udall’s campaign spokesman did not return two email messages for comment.

Woods is the president of the Liberty Partners Group, which has its headquarters on K Street in Washington. Among other organizations, the firm represents the dialysis firm DaVita, Western Dental, and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Woods was the second largest political donor to candidates among D.C. lobbyists in the 2012 election cycle, according to the website of Center for Responsive Politics, which referred to donors like him as “an elite class” that represents the “one percent of the one percent.” Woods gave $210,100 to candidates. A call to his office was not returned.

Desai is vice president for Cheniere Energy Inc., a Houston-based energy firm that specializes in developing liquefied natural gas LNG). According to his LinkedIn page, Desai has worked for John Kerry’s presidential campaign and was the political director for then-Sen. Joe Biden in 2005.

Desai said he approached Udall’s campaign about bundling campaign donations.

“He has been great on oil and gas issues,” Desai said in a phone interview.

“He’s one of the few Democrats who cares about the environment and who’s pro growth … he embodies Colorado. He’s a good guy,” said Desai, adding that he would continue to bundle donations for Udall.

Udall recently took the lead among Senate Democrats to lobby for the increased exportation of LNG, an industry that involves the fracking process and clashes with the views of many in his environmentalist base.

In addition to Woods and Desai, the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund bundled $103,400 to Udall for Colorado last year, according to FEC records.

Udall’s campaign did not accept money from bundlers until the last half of last year – funding that is intended for the Colorado Senate race in November against challenger Republican Rep. Cory Gardner.

But, Udall’s ties with K-Street lobbyists have been close before.

As Udall geared up his first senate race in 2008, his campaign committee received $290,293 in political contributions from lobbyists, according to the Center for Responsive Politics’ website. He received the 18th largest haul from this group among all federal office-seekers.

Comments made by visitors are not representative of The Colorado Observer staff.

5 Responses to Health Care, Energy Sector Bundled Cash for Udall

  1. Bob Terry
    April 17, 2014 at 11:10 am

    “He’s one of the few Democrats who cares about the environment and who’s pro growth … he embodies Colorado. He’s a good guy,” said Desai, adding that he would continue to bundle donations for Udall.

    Yeah Mark’s telling one tale, while paying lip service to another. This man is so phony,while sucking the teat that feeds his miserable existence.

    Mark Job’s…job’s that fiT the Mark and Maggie agenda …Mark stand for something ..yer two faced at this point. If this guy gets re elected, I guess we deserve what we get.

  2. bob simons
    April 18, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    The Denver Post will not permit Conservative blogs that are critical of Udall!

  3. bob simons
    April 18, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    Here is what Udall did “TO US”. Why would Udall be concerned about healthcare cancellations stemming from Obamacare in Colorado?
    – He wasn’t at all concerned that he didn’t read this enormously important bill.
    – He wasn’t at all concerned that he didn’t know what was in the bill.
    – He wasn’t even concerned that Americans opposed it (Obamacare) by 62.5%; Udall just arranged a telephone town hall meeting where he and his staff pre-screened the attendees to insure he would only hear what he wanted to hear. Problem solved!
    The next step toward jamming Obamacare down our throats was parroting the talking points. Both Obama and Udall repeated these blatant lies frequently, as did many in their party.
    – We can keep our healthcare plan if we like it!
    – We can keep our doctor if we like him or her!
    – The average family healthcare premium cost will drop by $2,500 per year!
    Udall still supports Obamacare while we Coloradan’s and American’s still oppose it….and not a single Republican Party member voted for it. WHY?
    – Maybe Udall’s allegiance is to Obama and his party instead of to us Coloradan’s and American’s.
    – Maybe it’s because Udall & staff joined Harry Reid’s “b—- session” with Obama and Obama gave Udall and his staff a 75% taxpayer paid subsidy for their healthcare insurance premium because they couldn’t afford it! (Gee, Udall only makes $174,000 + per year!!)
    - But hey, Udall and his staff are looking out for us now as we approach his reelection campaign.
    He and his staff challenged Colorado’s Division of Insurance numbers that reported 250,000 of us Coloradan’s have received healthcare insurance cancellations due to Obamacare. After that challenge, and upon further review, that number was increased to 335,000 cancellations.
    On 2/21/14, the Colorado DOI increased that by another 1,755 cancellations. Thanks Mark!
    – Now (3/20/14), the Insurance Industry is warning of a 2 – 3 times rate increase next year.
    So what do we do with Udall come 11/2014? My thoughts revolve around his lack of integrity and lack of honesty, the foundation and basis for trust in all human relationships. Unlike your life or your property, a person’s integrity can not be taken away from you; by anyone. In order to lose it, you must choose to give it away. Udall, like Obama, has consciously sacrificed his integrity and honesty while placing himself and his party’s agenda ahead of Coloradan’s and American’s wishes. Since Udall refused to support us, “FIRE THE LIAR in 2014” and elect a politician who puts us ahead of themselves & their party.
    Furthermore, Obama has threatened We The People and our elected representatives with his pen and his phone and Udall has chosen to do NOTHING except continue his silent acceptance of Obama’s lawlessness. I guess Udall thinks that shields him from his responsibilities to us. Who needs or wants an inept liar as one of Colorado’s US Senators? (Unfortunately, we have two of them until 11/4/2014, Udall and Bennet!) Fire Udall on 11/4/2014 and we’ll deal with Bennet next.
    We don’t have to deal with stonewalling politicians or race-baiting politicians or liars as our elected representatives. We deserve way better than that. Fire any and all of them that you feel you can no longer trust!`

  4. bob simons
    April 18, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    Bring on the lying Marxist udall. Bring him to us; We know what we want to do with the SOB!


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