WaPo Digs Into ICI Lobbying Efforts
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Monday, January 12, 2004

WaPo Digs Into ICI Lobbying Efforts

Media scrutiny of the Investment Company Institute is growing. Sunday morning the Washington Post made the fund industry trade and lobbying group the subject of a less-than-supportive article. The Sunday edition of the paper is widely read by Washington policy makers, meaning that the coverage could have a significant impact on the ICI's efforts. Potentially worse for the ICI is the identity of the author's article.

The reporter was Kathleen Day, the same Washington Post staff writer who badgered ICI officials (including Matthew Fink) during a conference call with reporters last week. Day was the reporter who most aggressively took the side of John Freeman when ICI officials asked him to leave the call.

Freeman is one of two authors of a study the ICI was attempting to refute in its phone-in press conference last Tuesday. Both study authors crashed the call. When Fink refused to answer a question posed by Freeman about the inclusion of Vanguard funds in the ICI study, Day attempted to ask the same question. Fink refused and instead called on reporters to ask a question of their own.

In her Sunday article Day took on the practice of some ICI members of using shareholder fees to pay their ICI dues. She also examined the ICI's track record as a lobbyist and its efforts to derail state and Federal legislation the industry sees as potentially harmful to its interests.

Day wrote in the article that a consultant from Management Practice Inc. as saying that "many fund managers charge shareholders at least half of the cost of ICI dues, with many others charging all of it to them." She also reported that the ICI's annual membership dues came to $31 million.

She also quotes fund critics who "say they think the lobbying group acts primarily on behalf of the fund managers, not shareholders" and points to the ICI's PAC contributions that so far total $225,000 in the 2004 cycle and reached more than $400,000 in 2002.

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