Chamber Fails At Astroturfing Fiduciary Rule

Well this must be embarrassing. The US Chamber of Commerce launched a campaign to “inform” the public to the problem of providing advice in the best interest of clients. You’d think that acting on your client’s behalf would not be controversial, but you’d be wrong. There is a lot of money to be made in the financial services industry by doing the wrong thing (though there is more to be made by doing the right thing). 

The Chamber does not want the new Department of Labor Fiduciary Rule to go into effect. In order to convince the public they launched a bizarre campaign in which many of the “small business owners” actually supported the rule or didn’t support the repeal of it. In other words, the Chamber is purposely misleading the public. Here is an excerpt from the New York Times story:

We tried to contact each of the featured small-business leaders. Public Citizen is now publishing a report, “Sacrificing the Pawns,” revealing our findings. Highlights include:

■ One Chicago nonprofit leader did not realize he was listed on the webpage as opposing it and asked us, “Who do I call to get this down?” He said he did not have a view on the rule. He subsequently called the chamber and his name was removed.

■ One small-business owner argued for an even tougher rule.

■ One California small-business owner, who argued on the chamber’s webpage that the current system helped her increase employment at her business over the last 12 years, acknowledged that she had only one employee.

■ Eight people were not small-business owners but were officials at chambers of commerce, paid lobbyists or other officials. We presume their testimonials were added to the chamber’s webpage to pad the numbers.

In brief, we found the chamber’s portrayal of these small-business leaders’ opposition to the fiduciary rule to be misleading and in some cases downright false. Far from a groundswell of grass-roots organizing, the chamber’s list appears to be the product of an AstroTurf campaign.

The Chamber should be ashamed and you should not trust them.

Here is the full article.

Scott Dauenhauer, CFP, MPAS, AIF


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