“How the Plaintiffs Bar Bought the Senate”

My Manhattan Institute colleague Jim Copland has an op-ed today in the WSJ explaining how current campaign finance rules magnify the influence of trial lawyers, as through the favored status of “bundling”. Excerpt:

Over the current six-year senatorial election cycle, four of the top seven donors to the campaign committee and leadership PAC of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) were plaintiffs firms. Plaintiffs firms were the top two donors to Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D., Ill.).

The first piece of legislation signed by President Obama—the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 — gutted statutes of limitation in employment lawsuits. The first legislative triumph for new Sen. Al Franken (D., Minn.), an amendment to the defense appropriations bill, foreclosed employment arbitration clauses for federal contractors.

More from Jim at Point of Law, including a mention of Trial Lawyers, Inc.: K Street–A Report on the Litigation Lobby 2010, the newest installment in the Trial Lawyers, Inc. series, which will be available later today here.


  • Strange. I always thought that corporate interests and the various Chambers of Commerce also donated extremely large amounts of money to politicians.

  • No, no, John, you don’t understand. “Money is speech” really means, “OUR money is speech.”

  • […] Journal, James R. Copland of the Manhattan Institute offers an explanation, under the headline “How the Plaintiffs Bar Bought the Senate.” Money quote: The late Fred Baron, a prominent Texas asbestos lawyer, liked to boast about the trial […]