The US Chamber of Commerce’s announcement this morning that it would be sending former Senator Evan Bayh and former White House Chief of Staff Andy Card on a “road show” across the country to “carry a bipartisan message on regulatory reform” once again demonstrates that the Chamber is willing to sacrifice critical public protections in the interest of satiating their big business benefactors. Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue dispelled any doubts about their desire to dismantle our country’s hard-fought system of public safeguards, stating in an internal memo that the Chamber’s anti-regulatory agenda is a “first among equals.” And the Chamber has enlisted the best salesmen it could find to do it.
Unfortunately, by selling out to the highest bidder, which is more often than not the Chamber of Commerce, Evan Bayh has lost credibility when it comes to talking about what’s best for our country. Once considered a principled messenger, Bayh is now giving the Chamber bipartisan cover for a radical, pro-corporate agenda with dangerous long-term consequences. Bayh and the Chamber would have you believe that they are just calling for “regulatory reform to restore balance and accountability to the rulemaking process.” In fact, the Chamber wants to make sure that agencies and enforcement authorities that were missing in action during the run-up to the BP oil spill fiasco, the Upper Big Branch mining disaster, and the financial crisis of 2008, remain hamstrung and on the sidelines. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at the Chamber’s internal memo, where President Donohue gloats that the Chamber has helped delay or stop rules which:
- require that companies disclose the use of so-called “conflict minerals” from the Congo in the products they make or distribute.
- allow shareholders to have greater control in nominating directors and management leadership.
- address environmental pollution by reducing ozone, coal ash, and boiler emissions.
It’s too late to stop Senator Bayh from taking this job, but it’s not too late to prevent Bayh and the Chamber from undoing our precious public protections. Public Citizen urges you to take action: call your elected officials and hold them accountable whenever they endanger essential regulations under the guise of “regulatory reform.”