Business-Backed 527 Will 'Tell the Truth About Trial Lawyers'

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:30 PM EDT

( - The United States Chamber of Commerce plans to make America's "runaway legal system" a cornerstone of the presidential campaign.

"When voters go to the polls, they need to know lawsuit abuse destroys jobs, drives doctors out of business and forces companies into bankruptcy," said Thomas Donohue, Chamber president and CEO.

Donohue said the Chamber will support two new political initiatives to educate voters about the "devastating impact of lawsuit abuse on the American way of life."

One of those initiatives is a new 527 group -- named after a section of the U.S. tax code. The November Fund will raise public awareness about lawsuit abuse, targeting seven battleground states with a "concerted program" of TV, radio and print advertising as well as direct mail and an Internet campaign. Those ads will discuss the "truth about trial lawyers," the Chamber said.

The new 527 group will be co-chaired by Craig Fuller, former chief-of-staff to Vice President Bush, and Bill Brock, a former Labor Secretary, U.S. senator, and Republican National Committee chair.

"We cannot ignore what may prove to be a make-or-break election for legal reform at the national level," Donohue said in a press release. "The impact of the trial bar's influence on the legal, legislative, regulatory and economic decisions of an administration is impossible to calculate," he added.

The Chamber also plans to run a voter education program in up to ten key states, stressing legal reform issues with its federation members. "The program will highlight the growing political influence of the trial bar and remind the business community of the dangers of having this group closely aligned with the White House," the Chamber said.

Sen. John Edwards, John Kerry's running mate, is a former trial lawyer who made his millions by winning personal injury lawsuits.

The Chamber said its two new initiatives add to an already aggressive political program, which includes endorsing pro-business Senate and House candidates of both parties. In addition, the Chamber said it is mobilizing the business vote through a website called

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce describes itself as the world's largest business federation, representing more than three million businesses and organizations.

See Earlier Story:
Congress Urged to Protect Small Businesses From Lawsuit Abuse (23 July 2004)
Senate Stalemate on Class Action Reform Disappoints Business Leaders (9 July 2004)

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