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I often hear that Washington creates too much regulation.
As a pro-business moderate Democrat who served in Congress for 18 years, I have a unique viewpoint.
Members of Congress want to do the right thing for their district, their state, and the country. There are legitimate areas where the power of the corporate world needs to be tempered by safeguards to protect the safety and welfare of citizens.
But after 20 years of counseling clients, the truth is….
When Congress talks “reform” for your industry, it’s time to move into high gear to protect your interests.
Reforms are proposed with the best of intentions. However, legislative language that is drafted to rein in the bad players can, and often does, inadvertently hurt the good players like you.
My experience is that the unintended consequences of governmental action is one of the most frequent threats to your business.
That’s why you have to get involved early in the legislative process and become part of the debate.
Here are 5 steps to follow to guard against Black Swan legislation:
1. Meet with your own Member(s) of Congress to explain your concerns and outline the adverse economic impact at the District and State levels. If you have a major presence in more than one geographical area, include visits to multiple Members of Congress. It is important that your Members of Congress be your active champions.
2. Broaden your scope and meet with key Members of Congress with committee jurisdiction over your issue area. Be sure to advise your champions of these efforts and seek their participation.
3. Provide letters of support from a wide range of interested parties. Show the impact of the reforms and highlight the unintended consequences.
4. Work closely with Congressional staff on shaping reform language. I’ve seen cases where one word in legislation can create a slew of unintended results. Offer suggestions that achieve the original goals, but can be implemented without adverse impact on you.
5. Stay involved. It is always better to be part of the solution rather than an adversary.
Your mission is to positively impact the direction of the legislation and to become a trusted resource for best practices whenever your industry is discussed in Congress.
In Washington, being part of the solution is your best protection against BLACK SWANS.