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


Lobbying Bill Tops $1.1 Billion For First Half of 2004

"As President Bush campaigned for reelection pledging to protect doctors and insurance companies from patient lawsuits while easing the tax burden on businesses, industry groups spent record amounts of money lobbying to influence the White House, Congress and their constituents," the Los Angeles Times' Peter Wallsten writes. According to public records filed with the Senate, industry groups spent $1.1 billion on lobbyists and advertising campaigns for the first half of 2004, a new record.


White House Astroturf For Social Security Phase Out

When White House Budget Director Joshua B. Bolten introduced a "single mom" from Iowa to promote President Bush's plan to dismantle Social Security, she was presented as one of the "regular folks" in favor of private savings accounts. But Sandra Jaques, who addressed a White House economics conference on Thursday, "is not any random single mother," the New York Times' Edmund Andrews wrote.


Don't Let the Revolving Door Hit You

Representative Billy Tauzin, "a principal author of the new Medicare drug law, will become president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the chief lobby for brand-name drug companies." The Medicare law is generous to industry, forbidding price controls, regulations, or even negotiations with drug manufacturers "to secure lower prices for Medicare beneficiari



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