Monday, August 19, 2013

Critics Question Impartiality of BPC

Here is what the is being reported by the Washington Post's Wonkblog:
As the self-proclaimed “only Washington, DC-based think tank that actively promotes bipartisanship,” it says it “drives principled solutions through rigorous analysis, reasoned negotiation and respectful dialogue.”
Over the past month, the center faced attacks for perhaps being not nearly so principled as it claims. The Nation magazine dinged the center for its role in shepherding a plan for major U.S. retailers to improve conditions at Bangladeshi garment factories, when it had received funding from Walmart and several of its affiliated scholars had worked or lobbied for some of the other companies involved. Investigative journalist Ken Silverstein, in a piece for Harvard’s Safra Center for Ethics, outlined how the BPC takes money from oil and gas interests while promoting expanded drilling in a report overseen by a lobbyist who’d done work for ExxonMobil.
This week, the BPC is the subject of a scathing report from Ralph Nader’s consumer advocacy group, Public Citizen. The authors charge that, soon after receiving funding from the American Banking Association and Citigroup, the center convened a project on financial regulatory reform stacked with industry advocates meant to examine what could be improved in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act as implementation got underway.
Public Citizen’s worries were bolstered by the resignation of John Coffee, a Columbia University law professor who was among the few on the task force who was not affiliated with industry.
Here is a link to Public Citizen's full report on BPC which is titled "Made in the Shade: An Examination of Whether the Bipartisan Policy Center is Truly Neutral."

BPC, which formally launched in 2007, was founded by four former Senate Majority Leaders: Howard Baker (R-TN), Tom Daschle (D-SD), Bob Dole (R-KS), and George Mitchell (D-ME).