Federal agency not representing small business interests

Center for Effective Government
January 29, 2013
Americans have long supported the idea that the federal government has a role to play in keeping poisonous substances out of our food, homes, and workplaces. And over the past 40 years, as new chemicals have been developed, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have identified new cancer risks that have emerged.
So why is a small, independent office in the Small Business Administration commenting on these scientific assessments, even though staff at the office admit they have no expertise in these areas?
Our report – based on correspondence from Freedom of Information Act requests – shows that lobbyists for trade associations dominated by large chemical companies asked the Office of Advocacy to get involved, and it agreed to do so. Its comments mirrored their talking points instead of representing the views of small business owners.
Effective government advances the priorities of the American people, not Big Business lobbyists and their trade associations. The Office of Advocacy should support and reinforce the work of other agencies, not delay scientific findings that can improve the health and welfare of American families.
We would like to see a GAO investigation into the activities of the Office of Advocacy and more congressional oversight to ensure it focuses on helping small businesses meet environmental goals, not on helping Big Business hide the environmental impacts of its products.

Katherine McFate
President & CEO



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