More than half the member corporations of the Business Roundtable, a lobby fighting creation of an Office of Consumer Representation, have admitted illegal or improper payments or have been sued by the federal government for consumer or antitrust violations, according to a report by Public Citizen, a consumer advocate.
Mark Green, head of the Ralph Nader organization, said, "It is ironic that a group so in need of regulatory law enforcement lobbies against a consumer bill to make regulation more effective.
"If anything," Green added, "the high incidence of regulatory violations by these prominent companies eloquently demonstrates the need for a vigorous consumer presence in regulatory and judicial proceedings."
The Nader forces and the Business Roundtable are on opposite sides of a bitter lobbying campaign over the proposed consumer protection agency. The Nader group favors the agency, the business group opposes it. A House vote on its creation is scheduled this week.
Public Citizen released a list showing that 58 per cent of the Roundtable's 157 member companies have admitted foreign or domestic illegal or improper payments, or were the subject of complaints filed by the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department or the Federal Trade Commission.
The consumer group also released promotional materials from the North American Precis Syndicate, a public relations firm hired by the Business Roundtable to generate opposition to the consumer agency bill.
"These materials," said Green, "document that the Roundtable spent $3,860 to plant over 500 articles attacking the consumer office, without revealing itself as the source."