U.S. Chamber of Commerce Press Release

CONTACTS: Linda Rozett/Eric Wohlschlegel

Tuesday, August 24, 2004
U.S. Chamber Enters Political Debate for Next White House
Calls Legal System Abuses too Important to Ignore
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Chamber of Commerce announced it would participate in two new political initiatives to educate voters about the devastating impact of a runaway legal system on the American way of life – during this fall’s presidential campaign.
“We cannot ignore what may prove to be a make-or-break election for legal reform at the national level,” said Thomas Donohue, Chamber President and CEO.  “When voters go to the polls, they need to know lawsuit abuse destroys jobs, drives doctors out of business and forces companies into bankruptcy. The extraordinary circumstances surrounding this election have compelled us to support two important new initiatives.”
The Chamber is joining others in supporting a new 527 Group called The November Fund, which aims to raise public awareness about lawsuit abuse. The group is co-chaired by Craig Fuller, former chief-of-staff to Vice President Bush, and Bill Brock, former Senator and Republican National Committee Chair.
This team has identified seven battleground states where there is the greatest potential to effectively educate voters through a concerted program of TV, radio and print advertising and direct mail, an Internet campaign, and earned media discussing the truth about trial lawyers.
“The impact of the trial bar’s influence on the legal, legislative, regulatory and economic decisions of an administration is impossible to calculate,” said Donohue.
In addition, while maintaining its policy of not issuing endorsements in presidential elections, the Chamber will run a voter education program in 6-10 key states, stressing legal reform issues with its federation members.  The program will highlight the growing political influence of the trial bar and remind the business community of the dangers of having this group closely aligned with the White House.
These initiatives add to an already aggressive political program. The Chamber endorses pro-business Senate and House candidates of both parties and is mobilizing the business vote through a Web-based voter registration, education and get-out-the-vote program called VoteforBusiness.com. The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform supports voter education efforts in state Supreme Court and attorney general races that have begun to fundamentally change the legal environment for business.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region.
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