Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen, a non-profit, consumer rights advocacy group and think tank based in D.C., shared some facts regarding the so-called “Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency Act” (FACT Act) in an article published in Huffington Post this week.
“Astoundingly, the corporate advocates for this legislation try to portray themselves as victims of asbestos litigation.”
FACT supporters would have you believe that asbestos companies, which made untold millions selling deadly products for much of the last century, are being “victimized” and “ganged-up” upon by attorneys representing the persons who were injured or killed. Mr. Weissman reveals, however, that lobbyists representing the asbestos industry and its insurers outnumber asbestos victim advocates by seven-to-one. Of the top 50 lobbying entities most frequently mentioning asbestos, 1,362 of the mentions are from those associated with the asbestos industry, while only 186 of the mentions are from those associated with lawyers representing asbestos victims or labor unions.
“With insurers and asbestos-using companies outdistancing asbestos victim advocates by a seven-to-one margin, the disparity in insider political power is evident.”
Then there is the fact that the largest asbestos lobbyist is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce followed in no particular order by Koch Industries, Chubb Insurance, Ford Motor Company and WR Grace. Companies under the Koch “umbrella” and Ford are some of the most commonly-named defendants in asbestos cases. Not due to fraud, as they would have you believe, but due to the fact that they knowingly sold products that would cause many users to suffer painful and untreatable illness. The FACT Act is simply the latest effort to avoid responsibility for their grave and callous acts.
Mr. Weissman nails it with his closing thought; “It's hard to imagine that America would pay back the victims of a horrendous corporate cover-up by invading their privacy and victimizing them yet again.”