Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
"This party," said one of the hosts, "is being held to feed the hand that bites you."
It was a fitting description for an unusual gathering of more than 100 federal regulators, regulees, members of Congress and consultants at a party Wednesday in the Caucus Room of the Cannon House Office Building.
It was sponsored by Hill and Knowlton Inc., the public relations firm, to kick off publication of a new biweekly newsletter called "The Regulators," which will report on the activities of the federal regulatory system. It is published by Washington Business Information Inc., which has several other newsletters.
"Actually, I think we have much too much regulation," said Rep. G. V. (Sonny) Montgomery (D-Mass.), who still though the cause was worthy enough for him to sponsor the party - enabling it to be held on congressional turf.
"Regulators never get invited to parties," said Jerry Blizen of Hill and Krowlton. "This gives them a chance to talk to someone without being across the witness table on the Hill or at an agency hearing. And there isn't any conflict of interest. No one is dumb enough to make a pitch here."
In one corner, standing practically back to back, were Commissioner Donald Kennedy of theFood and Drug Administration and Peter Hutt, the former FDA counsel who is representing a portion of the cosmetic industry before the Hill in a hair dye matter. They didn't talk.
Meanwhile, across the room Interstate Commerce Commission chairman Dan O'Neal and Consumer Product Safety Commission chairman S. John Byington quietly gulped shrimp while chatting with Virginia Knauer. She is the former White House consumer advocate who has opened her own consulting firm to tell businesses how they can profit by being aware of consumer needs.
To the casual viewer, the true power of the people in the room was disguised by the low-key atmosphere. But rulemakers have quickly become a powerful force in Washington.
In fact, people in that room have some form of say over the material in the clothes worn to the party, the additives in the egg rolls, the pins in the badges, the color of some people's hair, the label on the scotch being poured, the flame in the Sterno under the hors d'oeurves, the subway that took many people to the party, the cabs and autos and took people away and on and on.
To Louis Kohlmeier, editor of "The Regulators," the party was really a gathering of his first 100 or so readers.
Perhaps the best indicator of a bright future for Kohlmeier, and the real reason a party for regulators can now be held, is on the last page of Kohlmeier's inaugural issue.
There, covering half the page, is yet another new index chart. Only this chart is called the "Red Tape Index," and it measures "the soaring growth in terms of bodies and bureaucrats," in 22 federal regulatory agencies.
The charts show an increase from just over 20,000 employes in those agencies in 1951 to just under 130,000 now.
Said a young woman after having that figure read to her, "I hope we invited enough people."