April 12, 2012

Lobbying Group For Big Business Boasts Of 100 Meetings A Year With Congress — How Much Access Do You Have?

Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) speaks before Business Roundtable lobbyists
Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) speaks before Business Roundtable lobbyists
Multinational corporations have many options for influencing legislation in their favor, one of which is the Business Roundtable, a trade association with over a $24 million dollar advocacy budget. The Roundtable helps member companies like J.P. Morgan, Wal-Mart, and WellPoint ensure that Washington is making policy that benefits their bottom line.

The group is gearing up for an aggressive effort to slash the corporate tax rate and reduce new regulations put in place to prevent another financial crisis (like the Volcker Rule). Politico’s Anna Palmer recently sat down with John Engler, chief lobbyist for the Business Roundtable, to hear about his agenda this year. Engler bragged about increasing the size of his organization, the different “arrows in the quiver” for attacking opponents, and even his regular meetings with the Blue Dog Caucus (a pro-big business set of Democratic lawmakers that includes congressmen like Tim Holden and Mike Ross).

None of this is particularly surprising — but Republic Report did take note of the sheer level of access Engler has with Congress:

The trade association’s headquarters is now located at 300 New Jersey Ave., NW, just steps from the Capitol. The move was strategic — it allows the group to better facilitate its nearly 100 meetings with members of Congress and staff each year, according to Engler. […] Still, the trade association has worked under his leadership to maintain a good working relationship with congressional leaders and business outreach staff on both the Republican and Democratic side. At quarterly member meetings, it has brought in congressional leaders and discrete groups like the business-friendly Blue Dog Coalition to sit with member CEOs.

One hundred meetings a year? And this is just through the Business Roundtable. Corporations also have specialty trade associations (like TechNet & AHIP), other big business lobbying fronts (like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce), high-dollar fundraisers, private lobbying firms, and corporate-funded think tanks to facilitate meetings with lawmakers.

How much access do regular Americans have?

  • John_Steinsvold

    An Alternative to Capitalism (if the people knew about it, they would demand it)

    Several decades ago, Margaret Thatcher claimed: “There is no alternative”.
    She was referring to capitalism. Today, this negative attitude still persists.

    I would like to offer an alternative to capitalism for the American people to consider.
    Please click on the following link. It will take you to an essay titled: “Home of the Brave?”
    which was published by the Athenaeum Library of Philosophy:


    John Steinsvold

    “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”
    ~ Albert Einstein

  • TRussert

    Zip, that’s how much “regular” Americans have. You didn’t mention ALEC. So, who pays for all these groups and the money they lavish on politicians they buy? The same people who have zip access to these politicians. Yeah, that makes sense, we fund this fiasco so they can legislate against us, which in turn costs us more for the products and services of these businesses so they can keep financing graft and campaigns, all the while funding the government and ALL it’s employees, including elected and appointed positions, their salaries, and outrageous benefits, benefits they want to deny everyone else. so they can in turn conspire with these business groups to rip us off even more. Man, that’s a great gig if you can get it with 300,000,000 plus or minus suckers to milk 24/7/365. It’s OK America, your individual votes don’t matter. That’s how we got into this mess in the first place; letting someone else go to the voting booth on election day. Stay home November. That’s exactly what our elected officials who are incumbents are counting on. This way we can all be guaranteed nothing will change, except for getting worse. I wonder what our Founding Fathers think of this? Or how about everyone who has gone to fight to protect our freedom and democracy? Yeah, I’m sure they are all very pleased with how we honor their sacrifices, how much we demonstrate our gratitude for what they gave up so we don’t have to get off our duffs on election days. Not to worry though, it won’t be too long before you won’t be able to vote anymore, as has already happened to many last year and this year. Just imagine what a relief that will be. The late Great USA, now a third world nation of sheep. JMHO.

    • CatKinNY

      TR: I wonder just how bad things will have to get before the majority of Americans wake up and realize that we are ALL, left, right and center, getting screwed by a tiny minority of incredibly wealthy robber barrons. Right now, they are still successfully using that 19th century dictum, ‘ I can control the poor by getting one half to fight the other’ (Jay Gould?), but if history is any guide, eventually the right and left wing populists will realize they prefer one another to the plutocrats blowing smoke up their asses. The intellectuals, and their are some, in the Tea Party are beginning to caucus with Occupy Wall Street; the two groups share a lot of the same complaints. Local police forces will be unpredictable as unrest grows – some will behave with appalling brutality, while others will refuse to attack their fellow poor shlubs. But when they call out the big guns and attempt to enforce martial law, the plutocrats are going to find out that their disdain for military service since Vietnam is going to haunt them; our troops will NOT do their bidding. We live in interesting times.

      • TRussert

        Hi CatKinNY,
        We are definitely like minded on this subject. I wonder how many shared similar views in pre Nazi Germany or in pre Stalin Russia. Don’t be too quick to judge what the police and military will and will not do however when the chips are really down and we’re on the verge of revolt. Certainly many will not allow themselves to be used against their fellow citizens, but enough will believe the spin about the “subversive citizenry” to follow orders, get paid, and have full bellies. It’s happened all to often before.
        That’s why this election is so critically important; it just might be the last one where the 99% will constitute the majority of voters. How many have already been disenfranchised from voting? Too many, and the number will grow if we allow it. Soon, big business will not need us; that 70% of the economy we drive will be peanuts compared to the consumer spending the billions of people in China and India will be capable of in the not too distant future. They have positioned themselves with their outsourcing exactly for this coming bonanza. The funny part is, they won’t need the politicians who made all this possible for them either once collapse here is complete. When that time comes, they’ll be in the same boat as the rest of us, if they don’t all get lynched first. That’s when everyone will wake up; when it’s too late to do anything about it preventing it. JMHO.

        • CatKinNY

          Hi, TR. Good news, it’s not quite that bleak. Those billions of “consumers” in China and India are a capitalist fantasy; they don’t exist in the real world, and they won’t in our life time. I doubt either one of us will live to see them have universal access to safe drinking water and reliable food sources, not to mention basic medicine, all prerequisites to them being interested in, and able to afford, the consumption of luxuries like iPods. I read a story in the Sunday Times Magazine around 15 years ago, long after China’s conversion to a booming market based economy, about villages in the rural, non coastal interior that were literally, villages of idiots. The problem? Lack of iodine in the diet. The Chinese government claimed they lacked the resources to deal with it, so the Kennedy family set up a program to provide iodized salt for about 10K/yr; problem sloved. Our business schools graduate technocrats who are no better educated than your average plumber about the world, so they are easily seduced by fantasies like this; then, of course, the majority of them just read the WSJ instead of a real paper and remain ignorant. Reality, especially where China is concerned, is beginning to creep into fantasy land. Our captains of industry are starting to wonder what kind of markets will exist in a country with visible air, polluted water, poisoned baby formula and millions of angry young men who have no women to marry but at least two elderly relatives to take care of. 😉

          • TRussert

            Hi CatKinNY,
            I understand what you are saying, and certainly this is one probability, but consider that the Chinese and Indian consumer need only spend $1 to every $8 we spend to match us. If the average income here is $47K, that means they need only earn $5.8 K to be on par with us. India is already at $8K per year average, and China at $14K per year. They are already poised to out spend us to drive their economies. It’s just a matter of time before they are producing product and services for domestic consumption instead of export. Much of those products and services will be what we and other countries have outsourced to them. They don’t care about environmental issues or consumer protection or any of the regulations that we have here to try and keep business socially responsible. Even is these things become issues there, change will be slow and far less costly then here; there are not free democracies, and only so much protest is allowed. Eventually they will collapse as well when the environment can no longer sustain viable living conditions, but few care about that; the seduction to ignorance you refer to. There, like here, the driving force is profit regardless of cost. whether it pays off or not for big business remains to be seen, but the the fact that many believe it will is what is driving our demise. Again JMHO.

          • CatKinNY

            Hey,TR. Figures like that are really unreliable in developing countries, and are further more distorted by massive income inequality. In the case of China, that 14K sounds about right for a worker in a big city, but what you need to realize is that the cost of living in one of China’s industrial centers is not all that much lower than it is here, partly because China has gone through the same kind of real estate and housing bubble as everyone else; theirs just hasn’t burst yet. Profits all go to the politically connected; at least here some ordinary people made out before the music stopped. That 14K will buy that worker an 8 hour shift in a bunk bed in an apartment he shares with 20 other guys – he’s not going to be in the market for a refrigerator in this life. When you get out into the countryside, wages plummet.
            As for India, did you see ‘Slumdog Millionaire’? Think of it as a documentary. A problem facing rural India right now is the wave of farmer suicides; these poor guys borrow enough money for seed and fertilizer, something goes wrong, they can’t repay the loan, kill themselves, and the wife has to sell the kids. India is the worlds largest democracy, and it was literally founded by a successful protest movement – see ‘Ghandi’, which did a good job of accurately portraying the founding of modern India. The Indian government tolerates quite a bit of violent protest, usually ending in the burning of a mosque, or the murder of a few Muslims or Seiks. Chinese protests are getting larger and more violent, too; it’s not 1989 anymore. Meanwhile, desertification is spreading eastwards inexorably; food shortages could easily set off another revolution. The
            government knows it’s got a demographic problem, and it doesn’t have a clue
            what to do about it; they’ve begun importing wives from N Korea, but even
            if they took every female between the ages of 15 and 50, there still would
            not be enough to meet demand. You and I are rightly very concerned about
            corruption and crony capitalism here; but this joint is still a bastion of
            upright practices and moral rectitude in comparison to either of those

          • TRussert

            Hi CatKinNY,
            The numbers are the average, so high and no income people are factored in. Yes, the reliability of the numbers is questionable, but incomes in India and China are trending up, verses trending down here in the US. That’s why I said “not too distant future” instead of now.
            The suicides to which you refer are the work of Monsanto. They developed a genetically engineered crop seed that is supposed to be resistant to insects and drought. It’s not. Nor do these GE seeds reproduce, forcing farmers to buy new seed each year from Monsanto under the BS they will readily be able to afford it because of higher crop yields. India is not doing anything to sanction Monsanto and the complete lies their seed was sold under. Those farmers who bought into the hype lost their crops, had no seed to replant with, and without a harvest, no income to buy new seed, yet alone pay their bills and feed their families. Like with the mortgage collapse, what fines that do get levied against Monsanto for restitution, will be peanuts compared to the profits Monsanto racks in. These genetically engineered seed do something else, they out compete with native, reproducing crops, so that natural seed will become a thing of the past. Add in the insecticides that are now wiping out bees worldwide, and soon there will be no reproducing plants nor the means to pollinate them, further “forcing” the need for Monsanto’s seed. This will be the cause of future desertification and coming food shortages.
            As for China’s one child policy and it’s apparent threat to future generation numbers, I’m sure that problem will get resolved. Human breeding has never posed any threat to the continuation of our species.
            As for ours being a bastion of upright practices and moral rectitude in relation to China and India, perhaps you’re right, but to me that’s like saying murders committed with knives is a testimony to the success of gun control. I fail to see any upright practices dominating any level of life here, and the same for moral rectitude. Yes, there’s an abundance of “do as I say” that advocates for what is right, but far more “do as I do” that serves only money and greed regardless of the costs.
            I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how this unfolds and plays out. For me, the idea I will not be alive to see it come to fruition is a blessing. I’ve seen more then I could ever have imagined as it is! 🙂

          • CatKinNY

            Hi, TR. Don’t get me started on Monsanto, Bayer and colony collapse disorder; I’m not in the mood for a grand mal seizure today. You and I pretty much agree on everything, except I’m a little less spooked by China and India, partly because I see their underlying structural problems as huge, and partly because I’m getting a powerful sense of deja vu. Japan scared the crap out of me in the 80’s. I’m not worried about a shortage of Chinese in the future, but if I were a member of the Chinese leadership, I’d be very worried about revolution now. These are perilous times, but I have to allow myself to hope that we are not as short sighted as our counterparts in ancient Rome, and that we’ll pull back from the precipice before it’s too late. That’s only on good days, though; on bad days, I’m quite sure that the greed of our elites will bring about another American Revolution – and this one will have a decidedly French accent. On the other hand, mother nature may be about to render all of this moot by deciding it’s time to kick 80% of us off the planet. Have a good one!

          • TRussert

            Hi CatKinNY,
            The problem with really effective revolution in India, and especially China as I see it is they do not have the right to own guns. They can’t really offer any intimidating threat to their governments. The protests that have occurred there only effected change that benefiting the government’s agendas. As for the shortsightedness, you are much more optimistic then I about that. Ah, the guillotine! Now THAT would get everyone’s attention! 🙂 We had the chance, and a viable chance, for a non violent revolution at the height of the Occupy movement, but the majority support for that was in word only and very little action. That’s going to be the stumbling block to the second American Revolution, too much complacency. People think they have too much to lose attempting a revolution. By the time they realize they no longer have anything to lose, it will be too late to do anything, at least without great loss of life. I agree Mother Nature will put an end to much of this nonsense first. 80% sounds about right too. Revelations says it will be 2/3rds. Close enough. Like Santayana said, if we don’t learn from history we are condemned to repeat it. We are definitely condemned IMHO. Cheers CatKinNY!

          • CatKinNY

            Morning, TR. India is not poised for revolution, it’s poised for it’s citizens to demand, and get, a new infrastructure, and real government services for it’s poor – the vast majority; taxes are going to get very high for the well off minority some time in the next few years, and India will have to tackle it’s corruption problem before it becomes a serious player on the world stage. They’re only part of this discussion because you bought into that whole ‘billions of consumers in China and India’ meme. The Indian government has a healthy fear of it’s own ‘unarmed’ citizens; most of them have next to nothing to lose, believe they’ll be back for another, better life, and are easily whipped up by opposition parties at election time; in a paliamentary type of government, that’s much more important than it is here.
            You are thinking of revolutions in very parochial terms; our own, heavily armed frontier militia society was atypical of successful revolutions. In Europe, neither the French nor Russian peasantry had firearms; in Asia, the Chinese and Vietnamese peasants were likewise wielding only pitchforks and outrage. The widespread perception that you are a member of a vast majority being exploited by a tiny, corrupt minority who gain more from your labor than you do is all it takes for a revolution to succeed; the minority always finds out too late that that perception has spread to the armed forces. When your soldiers identify more heavily with those marching peasants from which they come than they do with their paymasters, they become very difficult to control, even when the officer class comes from the elite. When the officers themselves come from the peasantry, as does ours, watch out, rich people! Our own military is close to a breaking point; anyone who tries to turn them on us is playing Russian Roulette.
            Just last year, we watched corrupt, authoritarian governments all over the Middle East toppled by citizen soldiers armed mostly with cell phones. Here, we are watching social media defeat Rush Limbaugh, ALEC and pink slime, all in a month. OWS has forced income inequality to the forefront, along with the insanity of the tax code; Citizens United has pushed campaign finance reform to the forefront. If we are diligent, and very lucky, we may be able to right the ship of state before we hit the iceberg. Or not. Have a good one!

          • TRussert

            Hi CatKinNY,
            I hope you are right. I really do. I simply can’t see us avoiding the iceberg however, since it surrounds us completely. And it doesn’t matter which Captain is at the helm come next January; just a matter of which will do the most damage.
            Yes, the seeming success of the social media is encouraging, but I think it is more as a diversion; the 1% has to allow the 99% the illusion of some success to keep us “under control”. Like a safety valve on a boiler. Rush is still spewing his garbage, Pink Slime has taken a hit, while no one has yet focused on arsenic in chicken, Citizens United will get overturned, but to what effect when both parties will still prostitute themselves to the highest bidders?
            This is the trick; to make things appear to be changing for the better all the while making them worse. Obama’s campaign and the reality of his Presidency is a billboard to that. It’s no accident, just part of the plan. Sorry, but I must opp for your “or not”. You have a good as well CatKinNY. Cheers.

  • Pingback: www.gtavcc.com()

  • Pingback: Trackback()

  • Pingback: this site()

  • Pingback: Trackback()

  • Pingback: Trackback()

  • Pingback: Trackback()

  • Pingback: Trackback()

  • Pingback: Trackback()

  • Pingback: Trackback()

  • Pingback: Trackback()

  • Pingback: Trackback()

  • Pingback: bellmaking abaptiston tradition()

  • Pingback: Trackback()

  • Pingback: axmcsnrcaxmgcnacgnr()

  • Pingback: scnkgrfmstngjsngmgcrthv()

  • Pingback: acgggggggdbjmhkfasdj()

  • Pingback: gxcrcfgrtgsgabdjnhacfg()

  • Pingback: Trackback()

  • Pingback: Trackback()

  • Pingback: bed bug products()

  • Pingback: buy pure garcinia cambogia extract()

  • Pingback: what is may day()

  • Pingback: Celebrity Images()

  • Pingback: cheape insurance quotes()

  • Pingback: homeowners insurance shopping()

  • Pingback: motorcycle covers()

  • Pingback: GainCreditScore.com()

  • Pingback: cheap web hosting()

  • Pingback: Eva Trio Abgiessdeckel()

  • Pingback: option bot 2 scam()

  • Pingback: forex trade()

  • Pingback: avalon malibu testimonials()

  • Pingback: best drug rehab manistee mi()

  • Pingback: what is the best colon cleanse()

  • Pingback: avalon malibu reviews()

  • Pingback: forex brokerage firms()

  • Pingback: travel()

  • Pingback: SEO link building()

  • Pingback: chiropractor buffalo()

  • Pingback: natural alternative cancer treatment()

  • Pingback: nationwide auto insurance()

  • Pingback: electronic cigarette sales()

  • Pingback: cambogia garcinia reviews()

  • Pingback: garcinia and colon cleanse diet()

  • Pingback: best garcinia cambogia for weight loss()