Expert's Opinion

Special Interest Showdown?

By Peter Mayberry, The President of Arlington, VA-based Mayberry & Associates | December 28, 2009

Peter Mayberry On How New Lobbyist Rules Will Impact Nonwovens.

Unless you paid close attention a couple of months ago, you may not be aware of a recent action taken by the Obama Administration that could have a major impact on the nonwovens industry.

Specifically, the White House announced – via a September 23 blog posting! – that, effective immediately, any person who is a registered lobbyist on Capitol Hill will no longer be allowed to serve on advisory panels that offer insight to officials from the administrative branch of government.

One impact is that at least nine members of the Industry Trade Advisory Committee on Textiles and Clothing (ITAC 13) can no longer provide their expertise to key government decision makers in an organized and confidential manner. Many of these nine people are either directly involved in nonwovens or are allies of the nonwovens industry.

The representative for Milliken & Company must step down, for example, as will representatives from the American Apparel & Footwear Association and the Travel Goods Association. All have been good friends to the nonwovens industry for years.

This represents a significant loss of resources for government officials at the Office of the United States Trade Representative, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and numerous other agencies responsible for the development and implementation of U.S. international trade policy.

Why has the Obama administration taken such drastic action? According to Norm Eisen, Special Council the President, “…lobbyists for major special interests have in recent years wielded extraordinary power in this town. The result has been a national agenda too often skewed in favor of the interests that can afford their services.”

Well, I can personally attest that this characterization does not apply to any of the nine ITAC 13 members who are being purged solely because they are either legally required to register as Capitol Hill lobbyists or voluntarily chose to do so. Indeed, there are very few people in DC capable of achieving what Mr. Eisen lays out as justification for this sweeping action – and few of them are registered lobbyists.

Moving forward, therefore, I am most interested to see who the Obama Administration picks to replace the nine members of ITAC 13 who are being shown the door. Hopefully they will find individuals who are just as knowledgeable, experienced, dedicated, and willing to undergo extensive background checks as were the people that are now being asked to leave. We’ll see.


The president of Arlington, VA-based Mayberry &Associates, Peter Mayberry is a government relations specialist with specific expertise in FDA, EPA, CPSC< FTC and the U.S. congress as well as broad-based knowledge of the nonwovens industry. He can be reached at

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