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Lobbyists

Big Meat And Dairy Delegates Triple At COP28

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - Lobbyists from industrial agriculture companies and trade groups have turned out in record numbers at COP28, which this year has a strong focus on tackling emissions from the food sector. Attendees are present from some of the world’s largest agribusiness firms – such as meatpacker JBS, fertiliser giant Nutrien, food giant Nestlé and pesticide firm Bayer – and powerful industry trade groups.  Meat and dairy interests are especially well represented with 120 delegates in Dubai, triple the number that attended COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. Overall the analysis of the delegates list by DeSmog shows that the total number of people representing the interests of agribusiness has more than doubled since 2022 to reach 340.

Net Neutrality Is Back; Telecom Giants Are Again Playing Dirty

Big Telecom’s lobbyists and spin doctors are working overtime this week because the Federal Communications Commission has at long last announced the agency’s plans to restore Title II net neutrality, which was repealed in 2017 by the Trump administration. In a functioning democracy, this move would be noncontroversial. Basically no one outside of the telecom giants and their front groups supported the repeal of the rules. The Title II protections were put in place after millions of people from across the political spectrum demanded that the FCC use its authority to prevent internet providers from abusing their gatekeeper power, blocking or slowing down websites, or charging unfair fees to use your favorite apps.

Fossil-Fuel Lobbyists Work For US Groups Trying To Fight Climate Crisis

More than 1,500 lobbyists in the US are working on behalf of fossil-fuel companies while at the same time representing hundreds of liberal-run cities, universities, technology companies and environmental groups that say they are tackling the climate crisis, the Guardian can reveal. Lobbyists for oil, gas and coal interests are also employed by a vast sweep of institutions, ranging from the city governments of Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia; tech giants such as Apple and Google; more than 150 universities; some of the country’s leading environmental groups – and even ski resorts seeing their snow melted by global heating.

Fear And Loathing Among The Union Busters

“Comrades,” said Chappell Phillips, as he grabbed the microphone, “please do not leave the conference. It’s all better from here.” Phillips, an executive at the buffet restaurant chain Golden Corral, stood at a podium in the front of a hotel ballroom in Atlanta, before some one hundred restaurant executives and managers and union avoidance lawyers mingling and sipping weak coffee. Minutes earlier, the government’s top labor watchdog had been standing at the same podium delivering the keynote speech here at the October 2022 summit of the Restaurant Law Center, the legal arm of the National Restaurant Association. Lobbying groups often invite government officials to their conferences to curry favor or gain insight into regulatory developments. But America’s chief enforcer of federal labor law at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) had not stuck to the proverbial script.

Evangelical Lobbying Threatens Supreme Court’s Independence

Recent exposés have uncovered an emerging pattern of improper lobbying of right-wing Supreme Court justices by wealthy evangelicals. They reveal serious threats to the independence of the judiciary. But equally alarming is that the Supreme Court is unconstrained by a code of judicial ethics. From 1995 to 2018, the right-wing evangelical nonprofit Faith and Action executed “Operation Higher Court.” It was an organized and systematic campaign “to wine, dine and entertain conservative Supreme Court justices while pushing conservative positions” on social issues pending before the court, *Politico* reports. Faith and Action “would rehearse lines” in order “to influence the justices while steering clear of the specifics of cases pending before the court.”

New Report Reveals Big Oil’s COVID Lobby Bonanza

Big Oil is wasting no time exploiting the coronavirus for profit. Polluters fought hard for kickbacks in the first coronavirus stimulus package and they are undoubtedly up to it again. As Trump and the GOP continue their crusade to prop up Big Oil, we must stop the fossil fuel industry from snatching more taxpayer money. Highlights of the report include: At least 11 oil and gas companies and trade associations reported lobbying on tax issues in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the $2.2 trillion stimulus package passed in March. The filings indicate that tax policy was Big Oil’s largest single intervention in stimulus negotiations. This lobbying blitz seems to have been rewarded with over $100 billion in tax cuts that disproportionately benefit the industry, especially companies like Halliburton that reported losses last year and companies like ExxonMobil beginning to report losses this year. These new giveaways are in addition to $16 billion in annual direct subsidies for oil and gas.

How Wall Street And Trump Created The Ventilator Crisis

The  $2 trillion relief bill of spending and tax breaks to bolster the hobbled U.S. economy hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic was signed into law on March 27. While offering some relief to workers, it does little to directly address broken supply chains for vital items like ventilators. It does not require manufacturers to coordinate production of equipment and therapeutics in short supply or ensure that masks and ventilators are distributed to where they’re most needed. It does, however, offer bonanzas to corporations. The federal government is open for coronavirus business, and the race to get some of the $2 trillion has become a frenzy.  Lobbyists are descending on Washington seeking lucrative contracts. Some are advocating for companies producing a mist spray for killing the virus on airplanes, others for recyclable hospital curtains, still others for a host of disinfectants competing against each other.

Surge In Lobbying Opposed To Medicare For All

Between the first quarter of 2018 and the first quarter of 2019, lobbying on Medicare for All increased dramatically, almost entirely due to a surge in lobbying activity by organizations that oppose it. This indicates that opponents of Medicare for All are newly scared about its rising prospects. The diverse and powerful array of trade groups, conservative activist organizations, GOP-linked establishment groups and health care industry interests launching an all-out advertising blitz against Medicare for All further reinforces this reality. The number of organizations hiring lobbyists to work on Medicare for All increased from nine in the first quarter of 2018 to 61 in the first quarter of 2019 – a nearly sevenfold increase. The number of individual federal lobbyists working on Medicare for All increased from 29 in the first quarter of 2018 to 270 in the first quarter of 2019 – a ninefold increase.

Fossil Fuel Lobbyist By Day, WaPo Columnist By Night

By Adam Johnson for FAIR - What is the point of Ed Rogers, the Washington Post’s most conflict-ridden, mediocre columnist (FAIR.org, 4/23/15)? He doesn’t add a lot to the discourse, his boilerplate Republican talking points could be better written by any number of Heritage fellows, he shills for Trump in the most boring ways possible, and—most glaringly of all—is an actual paid lobbyist for an assortment of sleazy industry interests, via his lobbying firm BGR Group. So why does a major paper feel the need to continue to give him column inches? Rogers has major conflicts of interest, as AlterNet and Media Matters have noted: Among many other infractions, he neglected to mention his firm’s $500,000 fee from the Saudi regime while boosting Trump’s PR trip there, and promoted the shiny new weapon systems of his client Raytheon on the night Trump used them to bomb the Syrian Air Force. When he does disclose conflicts, it renders the rest of his writing limp and risible. Take his latest right-wing missive (9/5/17) lamenting the “lurch to the left” of the Democratic Party, which offers up one of the greatest self-owns in the history of the Post opinion section...

Officials Overseeing Health Care Overhaul Lobbied For Health Insurance Firms

By Lee Fang for The Intercept - THE POLITICAL APPOINTEES tapped by President Donald Trump to oversee federal health care programs — including the potential transition to a new Republican bill to replace the Affordable Care Act — joined the government just after working as lobbyists and attorneys for the largest health care interests in America. Several senior Health and Human Services Administration appointees previously worked for insurers seeking to influence the consumer regulations mandated by the ACA, according to new political appointee financial disclosures obtained by The Intercept. The appointees work closely under HHS Secretary Tom Price — a former member of Congress and longtime ACA opponent who has pushed his old colleagues on the Hill to repeal the ACA. Eric Hargan, the nominee for deputy secretary at HHS, and Paula Stannard, Price’s senior counselor, previously worked in the lobbying and government affairs departments of their respective law firms, Greenberg Traurig and Alston & Bird. Hargan and Stannard both disclosed serving health insurance giant UnitedHealth as a client. UnitedHealth, which prompted worries about the ACA’s tenability when it exited most of the health exchanges that underpin President Barack Obama’s signature health care reform law, has lobbied the federal government on a number of issues.

Cable Industry Lobbyists Write Republican Talking Points On Net Neutrality

By Lee Fang and Nick Surgey for The Intercept - FOLLOWING THE VOTE last week by the Federal Communication Commission to unwind the net neutrality rules enacted during the Obama administration, House Republican lawmakers received an email from GOP leadership on how to defend the decision. The email was shared with The Intercept and the Center for Media and Democracy. Net neutrality is the principle that internet service providers must treat all web traffic in the same way. If the FCC eventually undoes the Obama-era regulations in their entirety, an ISP like Comcast could demand that websites pay it fees in order not to slow or block them. Large companies like Facebook would easily be able to afford such charges, but smaller companies might not, creating an uneven playing field. “Want more information on the net neutrality discussion?” wrote Washington state Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, chair of the House Republican Conference. “Here is a nifty toolkit with news resources, myth vs reality information, what others are saying, and free market comments.” The attached packet of talking points came directly from the cable industry.

Secretive White House Office For Lobbyists

In early 2011, after years of study, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration moved to reduce the permissible levels of silica dust wafted into the air by industrial processes like fracking, mining or cement manufacturing. The move came after years of public comment and hearings, and reflected emerging science about the dangers posed by even low levels of dust. OSHA predicted the rule would save 700 lives annually and prevent 1,600 new cases of silicosis, an incurable, life-threatening disease. The proposal stirred fierce opposition from an array of industries, which argued that the costs of reducing silica levels far outweighed the potential benefits. When OSHA pushed ahead, the lobbyists took their arguments to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, a division of the Office of Management and Budget. Few people have ever heard of OIRA even though it is part of the White House and has broad authority to delay or suggest changes in any draft regulation. OIRA's deliberations on the silica rule began in February 2011, and lasted two and a half years. During that time, records show, its officials held nine meetings with lobbyists and lawyers for the affected industries, but sat down only once with unions and once with health advocates. Last August, the office sent a revised version of the rule back to OSHA; the worker protection agency has yet to act.
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