Illegal lobbying by Tom Fetzer

A tip from a reader:

Tom Fetzer has been hired by (and is currently lobbying for) a consortium of businesses that wants North Carolina employers to be able to opt out of traditional workers compensation plans in favor of back-breaking "options" that pad their bottom lines. The consortium is called ARAWC, and Wal-Mart is the ringleader.

The Association for Responsible Alternatives to Workers’ Compensation (ARAWC) was founded in 2013 with the goal of advocating before state legislatures to allow employers to have an Option of offering alternative benefit plans to traditional workers’ compensation insurance. Joining ARAWC allows you to collaborate with like-minded employers that want to save money and improve how employees are treated when they are hurt on the job. It will put you in the driver’s seat of shaping positive public policy on an issue that affects every employer and employee.

As of today, Mr. Fetzer has not registered as a lobbyist for ARAWC. But that's okay. He's a Republican working for Big Business, including many friends of Pat McCrory. If there was ever a blank check to do whatever you want in politics, Fetzer most assuredly has one.



Originating in Texas (big surprise)

Following the money trail: ARAWC's corporate address just happens to be the same as a group of Texas lobbyists who service other clients like Medtronic:

Evans, Richard W. (00034432)
919 Congress Avenue Suite 425 Austin, TX 78701
Type of Compensation: Prospective
$50,000 - $99,999.99
Client - Start: 01/09/2014 Term Date: 12/31/2014

Hendon, Morgan (00069007)
919 Congress Ave. Suite 425 Austin, TX 78701
Type of Compensation: Prospective
Less Than $10,000.00
Client - Start: 01/09/2014 Term Date: 11/10/2014

Stewart, Scott (00068518)
919 Congress Avenue Suite 425 Austin, TX 78701
Type of Compensation: Prospective
Less Than $10,000.00
Client - Start: 01/09/2014 Term Date: 12/31/2014

But they also service a business collective called the Texas Alliance of Nonsubscribers (obscure much?), who are (of course) mostly interested in preserving their profits:

The Texas Alliance of Nonsubscribers is a nonprofit trade association of responsible employers committed exclusively to preserving the choice of Texas businesses to manage their occupational injury claims. The goal of the Alliance is to increase the understanding of the option that some employers have selected to manage their occupational injury programs outside the Texas Workers’ Compensation System — an approach known as nonsubscription. These employers are demonstrating every day how responsible nonsubscription works in Texas. It works to provide employees access to quality health care benefits and the ability to return to productive work. It works by providing Texas businesses savings they are using to enhance the benefits and safety of their employees, to expand their operations in Texas, and to invest in their communities.

Management Committee

Mitzi Tally, Co-Chair, Dallas Market Center

Steve Weatherford, Co-Chair, Daryl Flood, Inc.

Steve Schaal, Vice Chair, Tyson Foods

Al Wingfield, Secretary, Big Lots

Margaret Greenshield, Secretary, James Avery Craftsman, Inc.

Apparently these Texas lobbyists think they've found themselves a gold mine (which they probably have), so they decided to go national with the ARAWC thingie.