Under the guise of providing aid to victims of asbestos-related illnesses, a small group of companies has lobbied for and won relief from their liability worth tens of billions of dollars in the Senate's asbestos trust fund bill, according to this Public Citizen report.
Their success in protecting their corporate interests, however, will sharply reduce the funds under the legislation that will be available to asbestos victims, the report finds. Meanwhile, some of the nation's largest financial investment firms have spent millions of dollars in lobbying and campaign contributions to position themselves to score big rewards should the legislation pass.
The big winners in the legislation, S. 852, include a handful of Fortune 500 companies -- Dow Chemical, Ford, General Electric, General Motors, Honeywell, Pfizer and Viacom -- and at least 10 asbestos makers that have filed for bankruptcy.
Public Citizen found an intense Capitol Hill lobbying campaign on behalf of the Fortune 500 companies to win the financial concession was spearheaded by a relatively unknown entity called the Asbestos Study Group (ASG), which refuses to make its full membership list public.