Feeling Noncommittal

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is "wondering just what the nation's nuclear power companies are up to these days." While "taking steps toward building new reactors," the companies are "each emphasizing they have 'made no commitment' at all to actually building new nuclear plants." According to the paper, "The industrywide use of the 'no commitment' mantra is no accident.


Not What Democracy Looks Like

When Paul Biya, "the strongman who has ruled the West African country of Cameroon for more than 20 years swept to another election victory last fall, a number of observers quickly questioned the process." But not the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress, who said, "This is what democracy is about." Their delegation was organized by "a lobbyist for Biya's government," who "served as the mission's chief staffer and billed Cameroon for his work.


Holding the Hand that Feeds You

At a "conversation with experts and victims" organized by the White House to push legislation limiting class-action lawsuits, President Bush sat next to Clinton administration acting solicitor general Walter E. Dellinger III. "He represents the spirit needed to have good legal reform and that is the bipartisan spirit," Bush said.


Lobbying, German-Style

"In recent weeks, senior politicians from Germany's two biggest parties resigned following disclosures that they received tens of thousands of euros from corporate benefactors," even though "the payments were legal." Throughout Europe, companies are increasingly doing "aggressive lobbying in the absence of rules to rein them in." Public outrage has led watchdogs like the Corporate Europe Observatory to push for disclosure laws, though "many compa


A Quiet Revolution In Business Lobbying

"After brief pleasantries on the phone the other day," writes Jeffrey Birnbaum, "Thomas J. Donohue got down to business with a top health insurance executive. 'We're in a new year and a new time,' Donohue said smoothly. 'Can we put you on the list and get your money?' The executive said yes, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was $100,000 richer.


Burson-Marsteller's Bromine Front Groups

As the European Parliament has come into power, the population of lobbyists, PR firms and front groups has boomed in Brussels. In a new report, the Corporate Europe Observatory exposes the work of global PR firm Burson-Marsteller on behalf of the bromine industry as it attempts to stymie bans on bromine-based flame retardants.


Feeding Social Insecurities

The "start of a coordinated effort to build public support" to privatize Social Security "and pressure Congress to act" included a Washington DC town hall with the president and six "carefully selected participants." One was a Seattle-area businessman who, after being contacted by the White House, got a call from the conservative lobbying group FreedomWorks, "offering to pay his expenses." FreedomWorks


A Front Group Affront

An American Prospect article on Rick Berman of the front group Center for Consumer Freedom notes, "Berman's strategy turns on a simple rhetorical gimmick: By employing the language of consumer freedom, he protects his client industries by demonizing (and, hopefully, discrediting) their critics." Berman "stands out, if only for the sheer, unparalleled audacity with which he's straddled his dual roles as consumer 'advocate' and



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