Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Marketing "Business Forward", Blue Version of K Street


The Politico headline read "Labor Declares War on Chamber." The story stated:

One effort is being led by the Service Employees International Union, which is attacking the Chamber’s history of opposing legislation aimed at helping the working class.
Note: SEIU President Andy Stern said employer sponsored health insurance is "dead and not coming back. " How does that help the working class, Mr. Stern? It seems the leader of a health care worker union shouldn't be the first to cave.

The Politico story pointed out the Chamber of Commerce's new lobbying competition:

Yet another new group, Business Forward, has organized to create a new, more amiable bridge between the White House and corporate world.

Business Forward differs from the Chamber in that it doesn’t lobby on issues but acts a conduit for the exchange of ideas and information between the administration and boardrooms.

Still, David Sutphen, a Business Forward board member, said his group “is an example amid a series of things that are happening that reflect a lot of people’s perspective that there isn’t one voice for the business community.”

Lobbying firm Brunswick Group is behind Business Forward, which operates on a "pay for access" business model.

It's hard to know who's a lobbyist and who operates forums for the free exchange of ideas. Tom Daschle wasn't a lobbyist for Alston & Bird, yet hall mates Tom Scully and Bob Dole were. Tom almost became the White House Health Reformer, but the post went to a private equity underwriter, Nancy-Ann DeParle of CCMP Capital Partners. Nancy-Ann recently hosted a health care reform session with Business Forward leaders.

Don't forget the Washington Post's influence peddling sessions, charging $25,000 to $250,000 for access to White House staffers and members of Congress. The Blue team corporafornicates as well as the Reds. It's time for real change. Throw the money changers out of America's hallowed halls of government.

(Update: 9-29-09 Three power companies will leave the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Will they land under the auspices of Business Forward?"

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