Republican congressional aide Barbara Kahlow sent the e-mail to a dozen business lobbyists on Sept. 26: “Here’s ournon-public chart,” it said. She underlined “non-public” and put it in boldface. “This was hush-hush,behind-closed-doors stuff,” one of the lobbyists recalled.
Kahlow explained in her e-mail that President Bush’s new regulatory czar had “asked me to convene key lobbyists toidentify and rank” regulations that business groups found overly burdensome.
Her chart listed 57 of the most paperwork-intensive rules the business community wants to target. The rules, whichdeal with health, safety and the environment, govern everything from pesticide use to coal-mine ventilation, tostandards for blood-borne pathogens. They cover such areas as air and water quality, food labeling, lead-paintdisclosure, truck safety inspections, toxic-release reporting, and family and medical leave.
The chart and other documents from a fledgling anti-paperwork campaign provide another glimpse of behind-the-scenesstrategy-setting by business lobbyists and conservative Republicans in government, during the Bush administration. InApril, an industry memo urged lobbyists to get ”DRESSED DOWN” like ”REAL WORKER types” for an event promoting the GOPtax cut’s impact on blue-collar families. In May, an energy lobbyist asking people to pay $5,000 to join a corporatecoalition to push the president’s energy bill warned in a letter that absolute unity was a must: “I have been advisedthat this White House will 'have a long memory.'”
Now there is Kahlow’s e-mail announcing an Oct. 2 meeting with trade-group lobbyists and GOP staffers to discuss the57 regulations. The e-mail and the chart were provided to The Washington Post by a lobbyist who attended themeeting.
- Michael Grunwald, reporter with The Washington Post.
- Joan Claybrook, Director of Public Citizen.