(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.