#NCSEN: If you pay him, he will come.

Sthomfoldtate House speaker and US Senate candidate Thom Tillis has been catching some flak from GOP activists — and finally from the mainstream media — for skipping out on candidate debates in the GOP primary race.  His people are promising that he will show up in the same room with his opponents some time before May.

In the meantime, he found a few minutes in his “busy” schedule — while the House is out of session — to appear at a press conference featuring home health care interests seeking changes in ObamaCare. It’s interesting he is showing so much more passion for tinkering with the existing law than he did for the NCGA refusing health exchanges, or for Ted Cruz’s defund ObamaCare effort.  

(O-Care doesn’t need to be tinkered with.  It needs to be completely trashed.  Before it finally trashes our economy and our country.)

Today’s event got me curious.  What was so special about this particular event that made him step out in front of the cameras? For answers, I took to his campaign report — which tends to tell a lot about ol’ Thom’s motivations.

Harold Brubaker — the only other GOP speaker of the House since Reconstruction — represented the Asheboro area in the NCGA for aeons.  He and ol’ Thom were close allies during the time their House tenures overlapped.  Brubaker resigned from the House in 2012 to jump into lobbying — and Thom was there with the kind words, referring to him as “my mentor, a trusted colleague, and a dear friend. “

Here we are in 2014, and it appears Brubaker’s lobbying practice is going gangbusters.  According to the secretary of state’s  web site, Brubaker is affiliated with Liberty Partners Group of Washington, DC.     The lobbying firm’s clients include:  Bayada Home Health Care, Encompass Home Health, Guardian HealthCare, LHC Group, Partnership for Quality Home HealthCare, and SunCrest Home Health.  In other words, Tillis’ “mentor, trusted colleague, and dear friend” is affiliated with a lobbying group that represents a bunch of home health companies.  Ol’ Thom appears at a press conference today tooting his horn for the interests of home health providers.   A donation for $2600, in the name of Brubaker’s wife Geraldine, showed up in Tillis’ campaign report in September 2013.  

Staying on the health care theme, let’s refresh our memories about Greenleaf Health, LLC of Illinois.  Illinois resident Patrick Ronan, of the firm, donated $5200 to the Tillis campaign in September 2013.  His wife, Kimberly, donated $5200 to Tillis on the same day.  If you read Greenleaf’s site, they place a huge emphasis on helping health care related firms navigate the federal bureaucracy.  And here Thom is today — urging the federal bureaucracy to help out the home health crowd.

Let’s get back to Brubaker.  We talked previously about Tillis scooping up all of this beer and wine wholesaler money during the time the NCGA was debating giving craft brewers more independence from wholesalers.   The National Association of Wholesalers put on a fundraiser for Tillis in DC.  According to the state, Brubaker — Thom’s “mentor”  — represents the wholesalers in North Carolina.

Of course, there is the Massachusetts law firm owned by Thom’s brother-in-law.  I am sure it is simply an amazing coincedence that the firm’s clients have been well-taken-care-of in the North Carolina General Assembly.  (Thom’s brother-in-law and mother-in-law, who both work at the firm, have each donated big to the Senate campaign.)

I am starting to see a theme here.  If you or your representative throws Thom some cash, he’ll show up at your stuff and take care of you.  Candidate forums that don’t pay you  — not so much.