Tomorrow morning The Hill is hosting a breakfast event on “The State of U.S. Regulations.” Sponsors for the event have a rather significant financial stake in the state of U.S. regulations: The National Association of Manufacturers is the National Association of Manufacturers. And the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) is “America’s leading small-business advocacy association.”
Opulent event sponsors mean everything to Capitol Hill publications, a group that includes The Hill, Politico, National Journal and others. They pony up for breakfasts and coffees and full-on conferences. It’s a good racket — good for revenues, branding, schmoozing, etc.
Pulling off these events requires careful firewall construction, the better to take the money of the sponsors without allowing them to dictate the content of the proceedings. When asked about who sets the agenda for “The State of U.S. Regulations,” a spokeswoman for The Hill responded, “Sponsors can suggest panel participants but the The Hill management and its editors has final say on who will be speaking.”
Whatever suggestions were made for this event at The Liaison Capitol Hill, the sponsors are unlikely to beef about the makeup of tomorrow morning’s panel discussion. Speakers are:
Philip Howard: Partner at Covington & Burling and chair of Common Good, which believes that “Dense law also makes government ineffective. With each page of legislation, our government becomes less nimble. The point of overhauling government isn’t to eviscerate its important goals, but to achieve them.”
Blanche Lincoln: The former Democratic senator from Arkansas is chair of Small Businesses for Sensible Regulations, a project of the NFIB.
George Allen: The Republican former Virginia governor is not known as a champion of the regulatory state.
Susan Dudley: Currently director of the regulatory studies center at George Washington University, Dudley formerly served as the top regulatory official in the administration of George W. Bush. Upon her appointment, the National Association of Manufacturers wrote a post titled “Congratulations, Susan Dudley.”
Robert Weissman: The president of Public Citizen, Weissman strives to ensure that his organization “serves as the people’s voice in the nation’s capital.” So he might just disagree with the above panelists on the propriety of government regulation.
In sum, the panel has all the balance of an episode of Fox News’s “The Five..” When the Erik Wemple Blog cited the lopsidedness, The Hill’s rep responded, “The Hill brings a range of viewpoints to its events and this one is no different. When it comes to regulations, there are a variety of opinions about the current system and a multitude of views are represented here.”