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The list is out. The National Association of Manufacturers fought to keep its membership private, battling all the way to the Supreme Court. But on April 21, the group lost its last attempt to duck the law requiring it to disclose. Last week, it finally posted the required list of members on its Web site. So, was it worth the wait? That’s hard to say. “While the diversity of the industries represented is remarkable, it’s not clear why NAM was so intent on keeping this information from the public,” Massie Ritsch, communications director for the Center for Responsive Politics, said in an e-mail after looking at the list. The list of 65 companies posted on NAM’s Web site is roughly split between members NAM has publicly disclosed in the past — including Bayer Corp., Caterpillar Inc., and Shell Oil, which all have employees on NAM’s board — and members that until now had not been publicly listed. The list spans several industries and shows NAM’s reach: It includes Bristol-Myers Squibb, the American Petroleum Institute, Chevron, and General Electric. Of course, that list is a small fraction of what NAM says is a membership roster totaling about 11,000 companies. The new law requires disclosure of the name, address, and principal place of business of member companies only if they contribute more than $5,000 per quarter toward lobbying activities and also “actively participate in the planning, supervision, or control” of lobbying activities. That means it’s hard to know how representative the list is, and NAM won’t reveal any more about its members than required by the law. The public list includes Northrop Grumman, though not its rivals, Boeing or Lockheed Martin, which is interesting because the companies compete for defense contracts. Many of the companies on the list also lobby on their own, including the Hershey Co. and Unilever United States Inc., whose involvement with NAM had previously been undisclosed. Ritsch says NAM’s efforts on behalf of those companies “only multiplies their influence.” “When we start to learn more about the makeup of trade associations and coalitions,” he says, “we’ll probably see more examples of companies that previously hadn’t appeared anywhere in lobbying records.” NAM scrambled for more than a week to assemble the new report after Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. rejected its request for a stay. NAM general counsel Jan Amundson said NAM notified members they would be included in the report before they filed it. And NAM’s legal challenge isn’t over yet. Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit agreed to grant the case expedited review, raising the possibility that the court could rule before a second quarterly filing is due in July. The ruling also directs the clerk to schedule oral arguments on the first available date after the briefings are complete. NAM’s attorney, Jan Baran, a partner at Wiley Rein, says NAM’s legal team plans to make the same points as it did before the district court “and we intend to argue where the district court was in error” in dismissing NAM’s suit.
Carrie Levine can be contacted at [email protected].

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