It was 2012 and his remark was prompted by a California state Supreme Court decision favoring an employee’s right to have defined meal-break times. The association—dubbed “the other NRA” for its lobbying muscle, with annual revenues of $71 million in 2013–had vigorously opposed policy that required employers to ensure that workers take rest and meal breaks rather than leaving it to the employees to push back against managers to enforce break provisions.
Amador’s NRA is perhaps the largest trade group that you have never heard of, and supports an “institute” run by a PR firm that churns out opinions and papers to shape policy debates.
Also read these stories in our “Persuaders”
Ever wonder how a bill doesn’t become a law?
One week we’ll be hearing all about a proposed law intended to improve the quality of life for the majority of Californians, a bill that seemingly has on board every state Senator or Assembly member who cares about the environment, consumer rights or worker safety. Then, suddenly – Poof! – the next thing we know, the legislation has been killed in committee or withdrawn by its sponsor.
Whenever we hear of these kinds of Sacramento stories, we might assume it’s the work of the Chamber of Commerce. After all, the CalChamber is the state’s big guard dog defending corporate interests by placing long-overdue bills on its dreaded Job Killer list. But the Chamber isn’t the only bully on the block – it often has help from a gang of powerful lobbying organizations that represent the individual interests of very specific industries.
Seventy-three percent of polled Americans believe that corruption in government is widespread. That’s a lot of distrust. And it leads to a lot of cynicism. A big chunk of that corruption comes from the revolving door of politics, greased by money so great it would make most of us faint-of-heart.
Pols move from elected office to big offices on Wall Street or to lobby firms in state capitals across the nation. Government regulators have often left the very industry they are charged with regulating to join a commission in the sector they are supposed to regulate. Later, they return to the same business they once worked for.
Of course these people are not making decisions in the best interest of the consumer, since even when they are on the government payroll they carry the acute awareness of soon returning to that corporate office. They want to regulate without annoying too many future employers.
When House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his primary bid for re-election, he wasted no time cashing in on new opportunities. He didn’t even wait for his term to end before resigning his office August 18 – leaving his constituents unrepresented for three months, and making the leap to big bucks on Wall Street. His base pay in his new position with the investment firm Moelis & Co. is $400,000 for the remainder of the year, plus a $400,000 signing bonus. He also gets a million dollars-worth of restricted stock – altogether about 26 times the average income of Virginians in his old district.
What makes an ex-Congressman so valuable to an investment firm based in New York City? To be clear, he cannot return to the floor of the House to lobby his former colleagues on a bill. Congress ended that practice in the middle of the last decade.