Report: Big Business Lobbyists Swarm Capitol Hill Opposing Bills to Curb Price Gouging, Profiteering

November 3, 2022 Groundwork Collaborative

Even as households across the country struggled to make ends meet, big business and its aligned trade groups used their lobbying power to thwart virtually every attempt by Congress to curb price gouging and profiteering, according to a new report from Groundwork Collaborative and Public Citizen released today.

“Corporate America deployed its overwhelming lobbying power to stop anti-price gouging and profiteering legislation to protect their record profits. It’s all about money for them,” said Mike Tanglis, a research director for Public Citizen and co-author of the report. “But for millions of Americans, it’s about a lot more than just money. For those struggling to pay for prescription drugs, Big Pharma’s price gouging can be a matter of life and death.”

Below are the report’s key findings: 

  • Corporations opposed to anti-price gouging and profiteering bills were responsible for more than 2,600 lobbyist engagements on Capitol Hill, while supporters of such legislation had fewer than 300: a 9-to-1 advantage for big business. 
  • Two of the largest corporate trade associations opposed to anti-price gouging bills – PhRMA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – blanketed Capitol Hill with as many lobbyist engagements as the supporters of all of the bills combined. 
  • House Democrats’ signature drug pricing reform package, the Elijah E. Cummings’ Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3), received 1,157 lobbyist engagements, making it the most targeted bill in this analysis. A stunning 96% of those lobbying engagements came from corporations, trade groups, and nonprofits opposing it.

“This report highlights how the corporations fighting these bills have been the very ones responsible for jacking up prices on consumers and whose bottom line would be impacted the most if these bills were signed into law,” said Michael Mitchell, director of policy and research for Groundwork Collaborative and co-author of the report. “Congress must rein in the unchecked and outsized power these megacorporations hold over our economy.”

The report analyzed lobbying around 27 anti-price gouging and anti-profiteering bills introduced since early 2021. The bills vary in subject matter, from cracking down on price gouging on drug prices and items crucial during a pandemic to taxing windfall oil and gas profits and curbing predatory overdraft fees. The common thread is that all the bills focused on holding corporations accountable and providing relief to struggling Americans amid the pandemic and record inflation.