Anti-Consumer Lobby Gave Big to Senator Pushing Regulatory Accountability Act

Corporate political action committees, trade associations and individuals lobbying to gut basic consumer protections gave $3.3 million to the 2016 campaign of Sen. Rob Portman, sponsor of a bill that would effectively block new consumer protection rules.

Today Portman introduced the Senate version of H.R. 5, the Regulatory Accountability Act, which would require endless agency studies before new consumer protection rules could be adopted. EWG and other opponents of the bill say that in practice, proposed rules would never be able to clear the roadblocks.

Using records from Open Secrets, EWG found trade associations, PACs and individuals linked to companies that have lobbied for H.R. 5 and other bills designed to block basic health and safety rules contributed $3.3 million to Portman’s campaign in 2016 – nearly half of all political donations to the Ohio Republican last year.

PACs and individuals tied to big oil and gas companies such as Koch Industries or big retailers such as Home Depot are among those who contributed to Portman in 2016 and also lobbied for the Regulatory Accountability Act or similar bills.

EWG identified 125 companies with associated PACs or individuals who contributed to Portman and either lobbied for so-called regulatory reform bills or are members of trade associations lobbying for these bills. The trade associations include the Business Roundtable, the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Those 125 contributors represent more than one-fourth of the 470 corporate PACs and individuals who contributed to Portman’s campaign.

Under H.R. 5, the Food and Drug Administration, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and other federal agencies proposing new rules would have to first consider an endless array of regulatory options. Then, the proposed rules would have to withstand two layers of review by judges newly charged to second-guess agency experts.

While not as sweeping as H.R. 5, the bill introduced today by Portman would serve as the basis for negotiations between the House and Senate. 

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