Hon. William Barr - Chairman of the Center for Legal Action Advisory Board
Two-time former United States Attorney General William Barr will serve as the Chairman of the Center for Legal Action’s Advisory Board, working alongside AmFree’s Chairman Terry Branstad and CEO Gentry Collins.
General Barr will advise the Center for Legal Action on growing its advisory board, and on developing its legal action strategy. General Barr will help CLA develop a network of outside firms comprised of the best legal talent in America.
A native New Yorker, Barr earned his A.B. and M.A. degrees at Columbia University and, while working at the CIA, earned his law degree at night at George Washington University. Barr spent a decade practicing law at a Washington firm, interrupted by a stint in the Reagan White House. President George H.W. Bush successively appointed Barr Assistant Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General, and finally the 77th Attorney General.
After the Bush Administration, Barr spent 15 years as General Counsel of GTE Corporation, and its successor company, Verizon, where he headed legal, regulatory and government affairs activities; played a lead role on behalf of local phone companies in framing the litigation strategy, and personally arguing cases, that successfully dismantled the FCC’s regulatory regime, forcing deregulation of telecommunications companies and paving the way for the wide-scale deployment of broadband.
After retiring from Verizon, Barr served on a number of public company boards and as Of Counsel at Kirkland & Ellis. In late 2018, with the Trump Administration careening toward a possible constitutional crisis, Barr agreed to serve again as Attorney General, and was confirmed as the 85th Attorney General.
Barr is currently a Distinguished Fellow at the Hudson Institute, and a Co-Founder of the Torridon Group LLC.
Mission of the Center for Legal Action
Since 1994, the number of federal regulations has grown from 9,236 to 111,065. Every year since 1994, more than 3,000 new regulations have been added (except 2019, which saw ‘just’ 2,970 rules added).
Federal statistics reveal between 18,000 and 38,000 pages of new rules have been added every year since the early 2000s. Studies show the mandates issued by the administrative state have an annual economic impact of between $1.9 and $2.1 trillion, which approaches 10% of U.S. GDP. Federal regulatory overreach is choking the American economy.
We need to end the insatiable expansion of the federal bureaucracy. The American Free Enterprise Chamber of Commerce (AmFree Chamber) formed its Center for Legal Action (CLA) to address this challenge.
CLA will redress the imbalance of power created by decades of overregulation, with the goal of returning power to the people and their elected representatives. CLA will challenge the barrage of federal regulations and mandates that raise energy costs, reduce employment, restrict basic freedoms, and erode the constitutional rights of individuals and businesses.
CLA will have multiple tools in its legal arsenal: it will provide congressional testimony, initiate litigation, file amicus briefs, and support lawsuits brought by other parties in important regulatory and constitutional cases.
Two-time former Attorney General Bill Barr will serve as the Chairman of CLA’s Advisory Board, supporting AmFree’s Chairman Terry Branstad and CEO Gentry Collins.
General Barr will advise CLA on expanding its advisory board to include the nation’s top legal talent, and on developing the group’s legal strategy. General Barr will help CLA build a network of the best outside law firms to rein in the administrative state.
The Center for Legal Action will address regulatory challenges in several ways:
First, CLA will engage on major rules with significant impacts on American businesses and consumers. These include those such as, among many others, the SEC rule (expected to be finalized in the coming weeks) requiring corporate disclosures about climate change risk; the regulatory definition of the “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS); guidance from the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) directing how agencies incorporate climate change considerations into environmental permitting reviews; and the suite of EPA air quality rules addressing emissions from manufacturing facilities, power plants, and other major sources across the economy.
Second, CLA will challenge rules that threaten the economic efficiency and competitiveness of entire sectors of the American economy. These include EPA chemical reviews under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA); EPA regulations covering per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) substances; pipeline certificate reviews by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC); auto efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions standards for new cars and trucks by the Department of Transportation, EPA, and California; and efficiency and safety standards covering everything from gas stoves to lightbulbs to water heaters by the Department of Energy and Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Third, CLA will take on rules that threaten small and mid-sized businesses, which serve as the engine of job creation and innovation for the American economy. These include proposed changes to independent contracting rules that threaten the viability of the gig economy, which can overwhelm small businesses and start-ups. Another example in this vein is the Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Council’s rule mandating disclosure of greenhouse gases and climate financial risk for federal contractors. If finalized in its current form, the rule could create extremely costly and burdensome paperwork requirements for small businesses that supply labor and materials to federal contractors.
Fourth, CLA will focus on rules that undermine the global competitiveness of U.S. companies. These rules push jobs and manufacturing to, and make the U.S. more dependent on, foreign adversaries, such as China. They include new guidance from the Treasury Department, that makes it easier to obtain tax credits for electric vehicles, made with materials for parts and batteries from China, violating Congressional intent. In addition, despite billions in new funding from recently passed legislation, the maze of new permitting requirements from an array of federal agencies is preventing the U.S. from improving its infrastructure—including roads, bridges, mining sites, pipelines, and manufacturing facilities, thereby sending new jobs and investment overseas.