Coalition Groups Misidentified in Letter on No-Match Rules

Posted August 14, 2009 at 2:53pm

Correction Appended

A letter sent to Capitol Hill signed by the Business Litigants Against the No-Match Rule misidentified three of the litigants, and one of them — the Associated Builders and Contractors — says it never signed off on being included in the letter.

The Aug. 6 letter written by Laura Reiff, an attorney at Greenberg Traurig, asks House and Senate Appropriations subcommittees on Homeland Security conferees to strip out an amendment added by Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) that would ban federal funds from being used to make changes to the Bush Administration’s “no match rule.—

The provision requires employers to take action against employees when their W-2 form does not match the information in the Social Security Administration’s database.

The letter erroneously listed the American Building Contractors, the American General Contractors and the Professional Landcare Network as parties to the litigation.

The American Building Contractors specializes in insurance restoration work and is not involved in the litigation. It should have been listed as the Associated Builders and Contractors, according to Reiff.

But ABC’s spokesman Gerry Fritz says the trade group “did not sign off on that letter.—

After Roll Call’s inquiry, Reiff is sending a revised version of the letter to Capitol Hill withdrawing ABC and correcting the misidentified groups.

American General Contractors should have been listed as Associated General Contractors of America, and Landcare Network should have been identified as Professional Landcare Network, according to Reiff.

Other groups represented in the letter include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Hotel and Lodging Association and the International Franchise Association.

Reiff attributed the misidentification of the groups to a clerical error. She said the letter was a “political effort— against Vitter’s amendment since the Obama administration has already put out notice that it will rescind the rule.

The letter snafu comes on the heels of Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) opening an investigation earlier this month into a dozen forged letters that Bonner & Associates sent opposing the House climate change bill on behalf of a coal industry lobbying group, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.

Vitter said that he wasn’t surprised by the groups’ letter-writing effort.

“This letter constitutes a who’s who’ of organizations that have taken advantage of lax employee enforcement rules for their own purposes, so it is no surprise that they would object to my no match’ provision in the Homeland Security appropriations bill,— Vitter said in an e-mailed statement.

Noting the amendment passed with unanimous support following the Obama administration’s decision to rescind the rules, Vitter added: “I believe this serves as a good indication of where Congress stands on the importance of greater employer enforcement, and I will continue to work other members of the Border Security and Enforcement Caucus to keep this provision in the final bill.—

Correction: Aug. 17, 2009

ABC spokesman Gerry Fritz was misidentified in an earlier version of the article.