(Glastonbury, CT) – Congress approved sweeping financial system reforms today, eschewing a provision that could have threatened the entire research profession by vastly expanding regulatory control of the industry.
The Marketing Research Association (MRA) worked successfully to help defeat a provision approved earlier by the House that would have dramatically expanded the power of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and facilitated increased Federal regulation of the marketing research industry.
MRA talked with many Members of Congress and Congressional staff as part of the lobbying effort against the FTC expansion, supporting a large coalition of organizations ranging from advertisers and marketers to manufacturers and restaurants.
“Current FTC procedures prevent the agency from micro-managing your business or swiftly putting you out of business with minimal notice or debate,” said MRA’s Director of Government Affairs, Howard Fienberg, PLC. “An unbridled FTC could put an end to the successful self-regulation of the research profession,” he added.
As originally passed by the House, the bill would have increased FTC regulatory authority taken from the agency in the 1970s. Because the FTC regulates commerce across most of the economy, Congress felt it necessary to ensure that the agency discuss and debate regulatory changes with as many stakeholders as possible before setting or changing rules. MRA and its coalition partners were able to convince Congress to reject any change to those rules at this time. The Chairmen of the House Energy & Commerce Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee remain intent on FTC expansion, so MRA expects this issue to remain active.
“MRA looks forward to a thorough public debate on reauthorizing the powers and authority of the FTC, rather than an ill-considered provision slipped into a massive and unrelated piece of legislation,” said Fienberg.
Based in Washington, DC, Howard is the Insights Association's lobbyist for the marketing research and data analytics industry, focusing primarily on consumer privacy and data security, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), tort reform, and the funding and integrity of the decennial Census and the American Community Survey (ACS).
Howard has more than two decades of public policy experience. Before the Insights Association, he worked in Congress as senior legislative staffer for then-Representatives Christopher Cox (CA-48) and Cliff Stearns (FL-06). He also served more than four years with a science policy think tank, working to improve the understanding of scientific and social research and methodology among journalists and policymakers.
Howard is also co-director of The Census Project, a 900+ member coalition in support of a fair and accurate Census and ACS.
He has also served previously on the Board of Directors for the National Institute for Lobbying and Ethics and and the Association of Government Relations Professionals.
Howard has an MA International Relations from the University of Essex in England and a BA Honors Political Studies from Trent University in Canada, and has obtained the Certified Association Executive (CAE), Professional Lobbying Certificate (PLC) and the Public Policy Certificate (PPC).
When not running advocacy for the Insights Association, Howard enjoys hockey, NFL football, sci-fi and horror movies, playing with his dog, and spending time with family and friends.