Date: August 24, 2020
“Susan Collins and Marco Rubio introduced a bill to bailout lobbyist groups in the upcoming stimulus bill.
Of all the priorities on which lawmakers can focus right now, bailing out corporate lobbying groups should be among the lowest. Yet, during this historic crisis, when millions have lost their jobs and health insurance, there are multiple bills in Congress to do just that.
Last month, Senate Republicans introduced their COVID-19 relief stimulus package, the HEALS Act. Tucked inside the legislation was a bill introduced by Sens. Susan Collins and Marco Rubio that would make 501(c)(6) organizations — i.e., lobbying groups — eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the forgivable loan program created by Congress to help small businesses and their workers get through the pandemic.
Proponents of such a bailout, such as Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick — who co-introduced his own lobbying group bailout bill, HR 6697, in the House — tout the importance of ensuring that local chambers of commerce and regional 501(c)(6) organizations can continue “assisting our small businesses as they navigate through the COVID-19 crisis.” What Fitzpatrick and others fail to reveal is that many of the largest corporate lobbying groups in D.C. could also be eligible for a bailout in the proposals floating around Congress.