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January 23, 2000

Chamber Calls Trial Lawyer Political Contributions a Wake-Up Call for Business

WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 24, 2000 – The United States Chamber Institute for Legal Reform says a new website, “Tracking the Trial Lawyers,” tracks how trial lawyers are pouring massive contributions into political campaigns to prevent the election of pro-legal reform candidates.

The Web site (www.atrafoundation.org), operated by the American Tort Reform Foundation, shows that from January 1, 1997 until October 31, 1999, plaintiffs’ lawyers paid out nearly $18.7 million in political contributions. Of that amount, over $13 million was hard money available to be spent directly by candidates. The vast majority of these funds went to Democratic campaigns or Democratic-leaning political action committees.

“The massive volume of money flowing from trial lawyers into the political process should sound alarms for the public,” Institute President Jim Wootton said. “It’s obvious that trial lawyer contributions are aimed at preventing common-sense changes to our out-of-control civil legal system.”

“The trial lawyers clearly want to influence the 2000 elections and the appointment of judges; block legal reform; and use government lawsuits to target unpopular industries,” Wootton said.

The U.S. Chamber is raising millions of dollars to support pro-business candidates in tight races where the Chamber’s help will make a difference.

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