Size Is Everything: Report Shows How Big Business Hijacks the Voice of Small Businesses

Illustration by Mike Licht, via Flickr Creative CommonsThe Center for Effective Government (CEG) has published a new report, Gaming the Rules: How Big Business Hijacks the Small Business Review Process to Weaken Public Protections.

David Levine, co-founder and president of the American Sustainable Business Council, and I joined CEG’s Ron White in a telepresser this past Monday to give reporters extra time to review the document which was under embargo until this morning. You can listen to that telepresser here.

The report documents how big business has weakened public protection standards by manipulating the SBA’s Office of Advocacy that was intended to provide small businesses with input into EPA, OSHA and CFPB regulations. The report finds that this office has encouraged large industry trade associations and their big business members to participate in various roles in this process thus causing the real opinions of small businesses not to be heard.

You can read the report here. But here are some highlights:

  • EPA, OSHA, and CFBP lack formal procedures to verify that prospective small business advisors are in fact eligible small entity representatives.
  • Many individuals nominated by trade associations to be small business advisors to the panels were representatives, board members, lawyers, or consultants for trade associations and did not own or operate a small entity likely to be affected by the rule under development.
  • On numerous occasions, the “small business” representatives advising the review panels recommended rule changes that went beyond the small business impacts that the panels were convened to review.
  • EPA and CFPB withheld the names of review panel participants from the public until after the publication of the rule under review – preventing questions about the qualifications of appointed small business advisors or potential conflicts of interest.

For additional information or questions about the report, contact Ron White at CEG at rwhite@foreffectivegov.org

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