Manufacturers' Accountability Project

Manufacturers' Accountability Project (MAP)

Background

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) quietly launched the Manufacturers' Accountability Project (MAP) in November 2017 to push back against climate change–related lawsuits affecting the manufacturing industry. The NAM claim that a “coordinated campaign jeopardizes the ability of all manufacturers to continue growing and providing jobs to millions of Americans.” [1][2]

E&E News reported that the MAP campaign was launched to fight “activist litigation” with the goal of fighting “frivolous: lawsuits.” Its initial focus has been on climate change lawsuits against major oil companies. [3]

We’ve launched what we’ve called the Manufacturers' Accountability Project and the intention is to push back on the use of lawsuits funded by activists to target manufacturers for a variety of problems, including we’re looking at the climate lawsuits,” Linda Kelly, Senior vice president and general counsel of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and “lead on the NAM’s Manufacturers’ Accountability Project (MAP),” told the Washington Examiner in an interview. [2]

MAP is led by NAM's Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action (MCLA), with both MAP and the MCLA headed by Linda Kelly, who is senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary at the National Association of Manufacturers. Shortly after the group's formation, Kelly wrote an op-ed at The Hill, suggesting that attorneys have been dragging manufacturers into “fruitless lawsuits” over climate change concerns and that “[t]hese cases can have devastating impacts on entire industries and the jobs they support.” [4][5][6]

Stance on Climate Change

2018

NAM CEO Jay Timmons said in a statement that while climate change is a “major problem,” it should not be blamed on the manufacturing industry: [7]

“Climate change is a major problem that we all must work together to solve–but it is inappropriate to blame it entirely on the manufacturing companies that we all rely on,” Timmons said in a statement criticizing Mayor de Blasio for his lawsuit against major oil companies.

Funding

Below is funding information for the MAP's parent organization, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), collected from publicly available 990 forms, and from data collected by the Conservative Transparency project. Note that not all individual values have been verified by DeSmog[8]

See the attached spreadsheet for additional information on National Association of Manufacturers funding by year (.xlsx).

NAM as Recipient

Donor Total
Free Enterprise America $2,500,000
Freedom Partners $1,170,000
American Petroleum Institute $1,163,650
Intel Corporation $1,003,329
Merck $162,220
Dow Chemical Company $96,119
Alcoa $91,400
Norfolk Southern $71,590
John Deere $16,000
Grand Total $6,274,308

NAM as Donor

Recipient Total
American Chemistry Council $790,000
American Justice Partnership $520,000
Manufacturing Institute $300,000
The Manufacturing Institute $200,000
BIPAC Business Institute for Political Analysis $110,000
Heartland Institute $52,500
National Foundation for American Policy $20,000
ACCF Center for Policy $18,000
Council on Competitiveness $13,500
Congressional black Caucus $10,000
Associated Industries of Kentucky $5,000
Independent Women's Forum $5,000
Congressional Hispanic Caucus $5,000
Friends of Adam Smith $5,000
Women's Policy Inc. $3,000
Institute for International Econ. $2,000
Coalition to Salute America's Heroes $1,763
Minnesota Chamber of Commerce $1,500
American Enterprise Institute $1,500
Women in Government Relations $1,000
Tax Foundation $1,000
House DC $1,000
Grand Total $2,066,763

Key People

Actions

January 2019

The National Association of Manufacturers hired Phil Goldberg, managing partner of the Washington, D.C., office of Shook, Hardy & Bacon, as special counsel to help MAP fight against climate change lawsuits filed against oil companies. [18], [19]

Goldberg formerly worked as a lobbyist for the coal industry, and his law firm Shook, Hardy & Bacon has a history of defending the tobacco industry. [20], [21]

Sharon Eubanks, a former Department of Justice lawyer who has worked on cases against the tobacco industry, compared MAP's fight of climate litigation suits to tobacco:

It’s very similar what they’re doing, only the tobacco industry at least didn’t come right out and say ‘We’re going to target these lawsuits directly.' They did so indirectly. But NAM and MAP, they’re like, ‘We’re targeting the lawsuits.’” [19]

April 2018

E&E News reported that MAP began fighting back against Californian municipalities and cities that had sued more than 20 oil companies. MAP demanded a range of documents including paperwork, cellphone records, payments, and other documents containing the names of the oil companies. [17]

MAP said their goal was to expose details of the lawsuits against the oil companies: 

“We really believe strongly in transparency. We think that taxpayers have a right to know what's behind these lawsuits,” said Lindsey de la Torre, executive director of MAP. She added that “really what this whole effort is about is trial attorneys and politicians raising their public profile at the expense of manufacturers.” [17]

They said they became involved because oil manufacturers have been among those targeted by climate-related lawsuits. De la Torre declined to respond whether MAP gets any funding from oil companies.  [17]

Officials from the cities described it as bullying: [17]

 “Instead of owning up to the liabilities and culpabilities of issues of climate change, they're carrying out a very specific and targeted campaign of me and others. That's very clear,” said Serge Dedina, mayor of Imperial Beach. “This is part of the fossil fuel industry playbook.”

MAP contended that the lawyers representing the cities “stand to gain a lot of money in these lawsuits.” Dana McRae, county counsel for Santa Cruz County, said that their aim is “ensuring that our taxpayers aren't on the hook for climate-change-related damages knowingly caused by these fossil fuel companies.” [17]

Our outside counsel only gets paid if we prevail in court, so if MAP and Exxon are so confident that our lawsuits have no merit, let's just go to trial and see who is right,” McRae said. “If MAP is really so concerned about attorney fees, they should start with the lawyers for Exxon and the other defendants. Those lawyers get paid for every six minutes they work, at rates that are upward of $1,000 an hour or more.” [17]

February 12, 2018

MAP announced it was launching an ad campaign to attack New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio after de Blasio said he would sue oil companies including BP, Chevron, Conoco-Phillips, ExxonMobil, and Royal Dutch Shell in the wake of the devastation caused by climate change. [11][12]

Mayor de Blasio's frivolous lawsuit is a farce and a direct threat to the jobs and livelihoods of manufacturing workers in New York and across America,” NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons stated in a February 13 MAP news release. [13]

City Hall spokesman Eric Phillips criticized the ad campaign. “Shadowy groups funded by Big Oil won’t keep the mayor from fighting for our planet and city’s future,” he said, quoted by the New York Post[14]

Jay Timmons later went on Fox Business News with Charles Payne where he discussed de Blasio. ““Another problem that we’re facing and another reason that I’m here in New York today, Charles, is we are fighting against trial lawyers and politicians who want to take down manufacturing. Mayor de Blasio is suing energy companies right now for the subject of climate change,” Timmons said.  [15]

December 2017

One of MAP's first actions was to criticize the investigation by Democratic state attorneys general investigating what ExxonMobil knew about climate change, although MAP would also target other issues they see as impacting industry's bottom line. [2]

According to Linda Kelly, “We’re trying to raise awareness of the tactics that are behind these lawsuits and some of the groups that are funding them and how different interest groups are teaming up with state officials, because these lawsuits are being brought by states and by cities and counties, and show this isn’t an organic effort of different states and cities to try to recover damages.” [2]

E&E News reported that the MAP campaign was launched to fight “activist litigation” and would primarily consist of a website, with the goal of fighting “frivolous: lawsuits.” Its initial target included litigation by the cities of San Francisco and Oakland against BP PLC, Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips Co., Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC for damages under state public nuisance law. [3]

Related Organizations

MAP Endorsers

The MAP lists a number of endorsing manufacturing organizations on its website including the following: [16]

  • Colorado Association of Commerce & Industry (CACI)
  • Georgia Association of Manufacturers (GAM)
  • Illinois Manufacturers' Association (IMA)
  • Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI)
  • Kansas Chamber of Commerce
  • Minnesota Chamber of Commerce
  • Mississippi Manufacturers Association (MMA)
  • Associated Industries of Missouri
  • North Carolina Chamber
  • New Mexico Business Coalition
  • The Ohio Manufacturers' Association
  • Pennsylvania Manufacturers' Association (PMA)
  • South Carolina Chamber of Commerce
  • Texas Association of Business (TAB)
  • Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry
  • West Virginia Manufacturers Association
  • Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC)

Contact & Address

MAP does not provide a physical contact address separate from that of the National Association of Manufacturers.

Social Media

Resources

  1. About Us,” Manufacturers' Accountability Project. Archived February 1, 2018. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/Mm0n5

  2. John Siciliano. “Manufacturers push back against environmentalists' climate court strategy,” Washington Examiner, December 4, 2017. Archived February 1, 2018. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/klCSZ

  3. Amanda Reilly. “NAM campaign aims to fight lawsuits against energy companies,” E&E News, November 13, 2018.

  4. ILMA Participants on NAM Policy Call,” ILMA, December 4, 2017. Archived February 20, 2018. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/VsUVq

  5. Linda Kelly,” National Association of Manufacturers. Archived February 20, 2018. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/DqWFh

  6. Linda Kelly. “Activist litigation against manufacturers has gone too far,” The Hill, December 10, 2017. Archived February 20, 2018. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/omIau

  7. National Association of Manufacturers CEO Jay Timmons: New York’s War on Energy,” Manufacturers Accountability Project, February 14, 2018. Archived February 20, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/cDcg8

  8. National Association of Manufacturers,” Conservative Transparency. Accessed September 21, 2017.

  9. Manufacturers: Misguided NYC Climate Lawsuit Part of Coordinated Activist Campaign,” Manufacturers' Accountability Project, January 10, 2018. Archived February 20, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/IPzmR

  10. E&E News: NAM hires ex-DOJ lawyer to fight ‘activist litigation’,” Manufacturers Accountability Project, January 29, 2018. Archived February 20, 2018. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/AYFxD

  11. MAP Launches Ad Campaign to Expose Mayor de Blasio’s Attack on Manufacturers,” Manufacturers Accountability Project, February 12, 2018. Archived February 20, 2018. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/gsCWV

  12. New York City sues Shell, ExxonMobil and other oil companies over climate change,” The Washington Post, January 10, 2018. Archived February 20, 2018. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/Scr5I

  13. Timmons: Mayor de Blasio Owes New Yorkers an Apology,” PR Newswire, February 13, 2018. Archived February 20, 2018. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/hcyTg

  14. Michael Gartland. “Ads will attack de Blasio’s lawsuits against oil companies,” New York Post, February 12, 2018. Archived February 20, 2018. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/NPNi7

  15. ICYMI: The NAM’s CEO on Fox Business: 'We are fighting against trial lawyers and politicians who want to take down manufacturing',” Manufacturers Accountability Project, February 20, 2018. Archived February 20, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/CM1XL

  16. Endorsers,” Manufacturers Accountability Project. Archived February 20, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/Rp3Az

  17. Anne C. Mulkern. “Oil company allies say climate lawsuits were shopped around,” E&E News, April 10, 2018. Archived April 14, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/utoKV

  18. Sue Reisinger “National Association of Manufacturers Hires Special Counsel to Handle Growing Climate Change Lawsuits,” Corporate Counsel, January 23, 2019. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  19. Karen Savage. “Battling for Big Oil: Manufacturing Trade Group Leads Assault on Climate Suits,” Climate Liability News, February 26, 2019. Archived February 26, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/Ep5D6

  20. Goldberg, Philip S,” OpenSecrets. Accessed February 26, 2019.

  21. Mark Hansen. “Shook Hardy Smokes 'Em,” ABA Journal, October 2008. Archived February 27, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/qZYiI

Other Resources