– in the message below, Bert Foer, president-founder of the American Antitrust Institute, explains why the institute and its mission supporting vigorous, pro-competitive law enforcement and policy are especially important now; your financial support is needed to continue aai’s important work –
this world today–
for one chrysanthemum
a gold coin
Here is our annual solicitation for funding to support the work of the AAI. While we always need help, there is more urgency than usual this year. s/Bert
November 16, 2004
Approaching the end of the year and contemplating the results of the election, it is clear that the objective need for the American Antitrust Institute will only grow-as Tim Muris understood when he attacked us at an ABA meeting last year. But despite the AAI’s incredibly low overhead– our office is still in my home and there are only myself and our excellent vice president, Diana Moss (working half-time out of her home) currently on the payroll — the unfortunate fact is that without your financial support, we will soon be running out of operating funds. We need your contribution now in order to meet payroll and to help underwrite our active program. Please read on to see why you should be writing us a check before the year closes.
Two of our highest priorities for the next period will be public education about the benefits of competition for the American public and the Antitrust Modernization Commission. We have received a grant from a settlement in the California vitamin cartel case that will make it possible to undertake an unprecedented education campaign. (This grant will not support any other AAI activity.) The grant will allow us to produce a 30-minute documentary about how antitrust benefits consumers and businesses, and to place it on television and in high schools in California. We are also seeking funding to take this whole endeavor national and we are working on additional exciting ways to bring the value of competition and antitrust to the public’s attention.
Of course there are many other things we intend to be doing which require underwriting, and we will continue to rely heavily on the pro bono efforts of our Advisory Board, our Fellows, and our ever-increasing network of friends and supporters. An outstanding example of this is the AAI Working Paper (#04-03) authored by Senior Fellow F.M. (Mike) Scherer at the end of October on the flu vaccine shortage.
Our program in the next half year includes our fifth annual energy workshop on January 11, a conference on academic publishing and antitrust which we are co-sponsoring with an alliance of library associations on February 11, a fourth AAI workshop on network access in May, a conference on new distribution arrangements on June 20, and our annual conference on June 21, which will focus on creative remedies and honor FTC Commissioner Tom Leary. In the next several months, we will also see the publication of three AAI projects: (1) a symposium issue of the Antitrust Law Journal (on buyer power); (2) a symposium issue of the Antitrust Bulletin (on combining horizontal and vertical analysis); and (3) a book (on network access) resulting from our Network Access Project. And, of course, we expect to be filing amicus briefs, intervening in cases and proceedings, speaking with the media, writing articles, testimony, and op-eds, etc.
The importance of continued funding for the AAI mission is imperative in light of the gathering forces for the further cutting-back of the antitrust enterprise. The role of state enforcement is under attack and private enforcement could be reduced by efforts to cut back treble damages, impair the usefulness of class actions, and preempt Illinois Brick repealer laws. Intellectual property is being propelled into an absolute property right, not subject to the traditional antitrust limitations. Monopolistic or unilateral conduct is being unleashed from the practical constraint of antitrust and mergers are being permitted day after day without much concern for their concentrating effect.
Many of these ideas are expected to surface in the Antitrust Modernization Commission, which is just getting started on its three year journey toward a report and legislative recommendations. Neither the states nor the private plaintiffs’ bar nor consumers are directly represented on the AMC, whose staff will be controlled by the conservatives on the commission. The AAI is committed to creating task forces to monitor the work of the AMC, so that we can provide testimony, react to the testimony of others, and attempt to influence the final product.
We are the loyal opposition, the carrier of the tradition that vigorous antitrust is in the interest of consumers, most businesses, and the American economy. We urgently need your help to continue our work.
Your check may be made payable to the American Antitrust Institute, 2919 Ellicott Street, NW, Washington, DC 20008-1022. For information on transfer of stocks, please call me at 202-276-6002. You can also donate through Network for Good.