Lobbyists' War For Christmas (Trees)

If I ever got it out of my storage space, mine would be fake.There is pretty much nothing sacred to a lobbyist, except his or her own paycheck, Christmas included. And so it is that lobbyists are using Christmas (and its trees) to try to force through long-coveted legislation in the final days of December/the 2007 legislative session.

So, like all the other cheap products we buy today, most Christmas trees are manufactured in China. Some of them, unsurprisingly, might be dangerous and/or contaminated with lead. Like all good lobbyists, the ones representing Christmas tree growers smelled their opening for a little federal subsidy green and have pounced. The National Christmas Tree Association is using the anti-China fervor (and some keep environmental organization support for "sustainable" tree farms) to push for subsidies and federal disaster assistance for Christmas tree growers.

Notably, there is one (really tiny) artificial Christmas tree manufacturer left in the U.S. - Christmas in America. They have 20 employees at their factory in Newburgh, New York and need to sell 6,000 trees to stay afloat, so they can't exactly afford a lobbyist to push for trade protections or support the anti-lead legislation that some legislators are talking about introducing next year. But, you know, whatever. I'm sure the Big Tree lobby will make sure they see some of those millions in subsidies that the farmers are likely to get from employing lobbyists to do their thing. 'Tis the season, right?

Lawmakers target fake Christmas trees [Politico]


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