themcglynn.com

09 Sep

A Typical Business News Day In America

SUPREME COURT COULD USHER IN UNPRECEDENTED SPECIAL INTEREST ERA

The Supreme Court could loosen restrictions on the influence of money in politics after it hears Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission on Wednesday.

In an editorial on Sunday, the New York Times said that if the Supreme Court strikes down the longstanding rule that corporations can’t spend directly on federal elections, it will usher in an era of labor unions and big business essentially deciding who gets elected and what they do in office:

If corporations are allowed to spend from their own treasuries on elections — rather than through political action committees, which take contributions from company employees — it would usher in an unprecedented age of special-interest politics.

Who might benefit from that? Republicans, reports Politico.

The case challenges decades of restrictions on corporations and unions spending unlimited cash on advocacy and advertising. Campaign finance experts predict that the court’s conservative majority might expand the types of ads corporations and unions can purchase.

From Politico:

Depending on the contours of the decision, sources familiar with the political and legal strategies of unions, major Washington advocacy groups and trade associations expect a deluge of new spending in the 2010 and 2012 elections that likely would most benefit Republicans, since for-profit corporations and their non-profit advocacy groups tend to lean right and have more money at their disposals than unions, which typically support Democrats.

APPEALS COURT UPHOLDS LOBBYIST DISCLOSURE LAW

A federal appeals court upheld a law Tuesday requiring trade associations to disclose the names of members who participate in lobbying activities.

The Court of Appeals in Washington ruled that the 2007 law, which requires organizations to release the names of members who contribute more than $5,000 quarterly for lobbying activities, is not unconstitutional, reports the Associated Press.

The National Association of Manufacturers said the law violated members’ rights to privacy. The organization does not release the names of its members and argued that naming companies could lead to boycotts, lawsuits or harassment if a company takes an unpopular position on a given issue.

According to the AP:

Hank Cox, a NAM spokesman, said the association was considering whether to appeal the case further.

“We still don’t understand why organizations like ours that are merely exercising First Amendment rights to provide vital viewpoints to Congress should be subjected to complicated, vague disclosure requirements that tend to discourage the sharing of information,” Cox said.

TREASURY DEPARTMENT TO PUBLISH BAILOUT LOBBYING RESTRICTIONS

The Treasury Department will soon unveil lobbying restrictions for companies vying for a piece of the government’s $700 billion bailout, according to Reuters.

The new lobbying rules, modeled after restrictions applied to the Obama administration’s $787 billion economic stimulus, could be released next week and have been in the works since January.

Reuters reports:

The rules to curb outside influence in allocation of bailout funds are expected to severely restrict contacts with lobbyists in applications for investments in banks and other firms under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP)

The Treasury Department has invested $204.5 billion — of which $70 billion has been repaid — into more than 600 banks since the bailout program was launched in October 2008.

HEALTH CARE LOBBYING, ADVERTISING ON TRACK TO EXCEED $300 MILLION

The fight for health care reform is poised to be the most expensive Congress has ever seen, reports CNNMoney.com’s Jennifer Liberto.

So far, the $375 million price tag in both lobbying and advertising costs would be enough to foot the insurance bill for roughly 30,000 families a year.

Most of the money spent this year — nearly $280 million — has been spent on direct lobbying of lawmakers. Another estimated $75 million has been spent on television advertising. The biggest spenders are drug companies, hospitals and advocacy organizations.

CNNMoney.com reports:

The health sector is on track in 2009 to spend more on lobbying than it has on any other year in U.S. history — and by a lot,” said Dave Levinthal of the Center for Responsive Politics, which analyzes and collects lobbying and campaign spending figures.

The lobbying figures alone are on track to exceed half-a-billion-dollar mark by the end of the year, which would be a record

ABRAMOFF LOBBYIST GOES ON TRIAL

The Associated Press reports that a member of the Jack Abramoff lobbying team will go before a grand jury Tuesday to face federal corruption charges.

Prosecutors accuse Kevin Ring, 38, of taking part in an illegal pay-to-play scheme, giving away trips, dinners and tickets to concerts and professional sports in exchange for favorable treatment from federal officials.

The case is seen as putting the lobbying profession — and its trappings — on trial.

Ring, who is charged with ten felonies, said he was using traditional lobbying tactics to build influence, according to the Associated Press.

CHAMBER OF COMMERCE TO LAUNCH AD BLITZ

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will counter the Obama administration’s financial-regulation reform plans with a $2 million advertising campaign, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The ads, which will first run in Washington-area newspapers, target the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency. The agency would have the authority to regulate mortgages and credit cards, ban certain practices and require financial firms to offer loans in more simplistic terms.

The Chamber’s goal is twofold: move the spotlight off the unpopular commercial banks and mortgage lenders that are the target of the legislation and muster a roster of more sympathetic opponents.

“We want to go beyond the usual suspects to show how overreaching this is,” said Amanda Engstrom, a senior vice president at the Chamber who created the lobbying and advertising campaign.

HELL OF A LOT OF PARTIES THIS WEEK

Now that Congress is back, it’s time to party. With lobbyists, that is.

The nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation has invitations to no fewer than 11 fundraising events on Tuesday and Wednesday, including a “Dove Hunt” in honor of Rep. Rob Wittmann (R-Va.).

Comments are closed.

© 2020 themcglynn.com | Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS)

Global Positioning System Gazettewordpress logo