Multinational Monitor

JUN 1998
VOL 19 No. 6


Dirty Old Grandfathered Plants: The Clean Air Act's Lung-Charring Loopholes
by Fred Richardson and Andrew Wheat

Wasting Away: Big Agribusiness Factory Farms Make a Big Mess
by Tanya Tolchin

Ravaging the Poor: IMF Indicted By Its Own Data
by Gabriel Kolko

An Enemy of Indigenous People: The Case of Loren Miller, COICA, the Inter-American Foundation and the Ayahuasca Plant
by Danielle Knight


Taking Aim at the Gun Makers
an interview with
David Kairys


Behind the Lines

U.S. Drug Imperialism

The Front
Emissions Omissions - Out of the Mouths of Babes

The Lawrence Summers Memorial Award

Money & Politics
Trade Association Directory

Their Masters' Voice
The Burma Lobby

Names In the News


Money and Politics

Trade Association Directory

Washington's trade organizations are frequently the masterminds behind major legislative windfalls benefiting their members' bottom lines. Often these groups will spend far more on lobbying expenses than campaign contributions -- leaving it to their members to make the generous donations. Here is a primer on some of Capitol Hill's most notable lobbying names and faces. Campaign contributions by these organizations are based on PAC, soft money and individual contributions to federal candidates and parties downloaded from the Federal Election Commission on June 1, 1998 (contributions are inclusive from Jan. 1, 1997 through March 31, 1998). Lobbying figures are based on end-year 1997 lobbying disclosure reports.

Campaign Contributions: $236,250
68 percent to Republicans
Lobbying Expenses: $2,570,000

The trade group representing the major airlines is trying to prevent the Department of Transportation from issuing guidelines this fall on fair and unfair practices within the industry. The association instead wants to have a commission study airline competition issues before the Transportation Department can take any action. Discount airlines contend that large carriers are keeping them out of lucrative markets by monopolizing takeoff and landing slots at major domestic airports.

Campaign Contributions: $675,666
62 percent to Republicans
Lobbying Expenses: $3,488,535

The American Bankers Association has a lot on its plate. For several years it has lobbied for legislation that would allow banks to offer a variety of financial services such as insurance. The bill narrowly passed the House but action is uncertain in the Senate. The group is part of a coalition pushing to tighten personal bankruptcy laws. It also is fighting legislative proposals to overturn a Supreme Court decision limiting credit union membership. The American Bankers Association, the plaintiff in the case, argued that credit unions had illegally expanded their membership to people who worked for different employers.

Campaign Contributions: $111,265
81 percent to Republicans
Lobbying Expenses: $1,300,000

This organization representing creditors has taken center stage in the push to make it harder to wipe away debts. Despite opposition from consumer groups, the House recently passed its version of personal bankruptcy legislation. This year the American Financial Services Association has put together a "series of small group fundraisers" for original sponsors of the bill including Representatives Bill McCollum, R-Florida, and Rick Boucher, D-Virginia.

Campaign Contributions: $45,000
54 percent to Republicans
Lobbying Expenses: $760,000

Formed by casinos in 1995, the group is led by Frank Farhrenkopf Jr., the chair of the Republican National Committee under Ronald Reagan. Last fall, the American Gaming Association sponsored several Las Vegas fundraising events for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. It scored a major victory in April when Senator Dan Coats, R-Indiana, withdrew a legislative amendment that would have repealed the tax deduction for gambling losses. The group is awaiting the results of a national gambling commission created to study the effects of the industry.

Campaign Contributions: $785,551
71 percent to Republicans
Lobbying Expenses: $17,120,000

The American Medical Association outraged many of its Republican allies on Capitol Hill this spring when it endorsed Democratic health care reform proposals. Doctors want to prohibit managed care plans from using "gag clauses," which restrict the type of information they can tell patients about treatment options. One big item on the group's legislative wish list is caps on damages in health care lawsuits.

Campaign Contributions: $61,759
68 percent to Republicans
Lobbying Expenses: $3,680,000

During behind-the-scenes negotiations on Capitol Hill for a special oil industry provision, the Washington Post reported in May, institute lobbyist Joel Saltzman sat in Wisconsin Democratic Representative David Obey's chair and "sipped from Obey's water glass as he talked." Saltzman did get oil companies what they wanted -- a temporary stay on regulations that would have increased their royalty payments to Uncle Sam. Now they want a bill changing the royalty payment system. Critics contend that the revision would cost taxpayers at least $367 million a year.

Campaign Contributions: $148,130
73 percent to Republicans
Lobbying Expenses: $4,800,000

The "Harry and Louise" commercials created by the group's director, former Ohio Representative Bill Gradison, are credited with defeating President Clinton's 1993 health care proposals. Now the Health Insurance Association of America is running ads along with other insurers opposing bills to regulate managed care plans. The ads allege  that every 1 percent rise in costs forces 200,000 to 400,000 people in the United States to lose their health insurance.

Campaign Contributions: $92,338
59 percent to Democrats
Lobbying Expenses. $790,713

Campaign Contributions: $114,572
52 percent to Democrats
Lobbying Expenses: $860,000

Hollywood, led by lobbyist Jack Valenti, wants Congress to ratify two World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaties that would strengthen international copyright laws and prevent piracy. The Recording Industry Association of America claims piracy costs U.S. industries $14 billion annually. Both the House and the Senate are considering industry-backed legislation.

Campaign Contributions: $264,050
67 percent to Republicans
Lobbying Expenses: $4,680,000

Broadcasters received a gigantic windfall last year when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) awarded them free space on the broadcast spectrum worth between $12 billion and $70 billion to make the transition to high definition television programming. Thanks to a provision in the 1997 budget bill, they might be able to hold on to these airwaves indefinitely. The National Association of Broadcasters is fighting any FCC proposals that would require them to provide candidates with free airtime.

Campaign Contributions: $744,805
64 percent to Republicans
Lobbying Expenses: $407,450

The association was among the biggest winners in the 1996 Small Business Tax Bill. A provision in the bill phased out the excise tax on luxury cars sold for more than $34,000 by 1 percent a year, ending the tax in 2003. Now the group wants Congress to pass a law creating a national standard for "salvaged" vehicles -- cars labeled to let buyers know that they were rebuilt because of an accident. State attorneys general and consumer groups oppose the proposal, arguing it would preempt stronger state standards.

Campaign Contributions: $503,583
80 percent to Republicans
Lobbying Expenses: $348,000

Directed by former Representative Ron Sarasin of Connecticut, the trade group recently scored a major legislative victory over advocacy groups like Mothers Against Drunk Drivers when Congress dropped plans to lower the drunk-driving standard from a blood alcohol-content level of .1 to .08. Last year it quashed congressional attempts to investigate the effects of broadcast alcohol advertising. Next on its legislative agenda? Rolling back the beer tax. In 1990, Congress voted to double the excise tax on beer to $18 a barrel -- the first increase in 40 years.

Campaign Contributions: $258,752
52 percent to Republicans
Lobbying Expenses: $3,360,000

The group was a big winner in the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which deregulated the cable industry. Now more than two years later, studies show that cable rates are up and competition is down. A recent Federal Communications Commission study reports that four of the association's members -- TCI, Time Warner, Media One, and Comcast -- control more than 62 percent of the market. Satellite companies like Echostar are lobbying Congress to make cable markets more competitive.

Campaign Contributions: $555,025
74 percent to Republicans
Lobbying Expenses. $2,080,000

The Tobacco Institute helped quash anti-smoking legislation in the Senate in June. The average total campaign contributions from the tobacco industry for the 42 Senators who voted against limiting debate -- effectively a vote against the bill -- was $25,748. The average total for the 57 Senators who voted for limiting debate was $7,986.

-- Jennifer Schecter



Mailing List


Editor's Blog

Archived Issues

Donate Online


Send Letter to the Editor

Writers' Guidelines