DSA works to ensure a landscape in which direct selling companies can operate effectively and ethically while protecting consumers from bad actors. In support of those efforts, the Association has established strong working relationships with policymakers, regulators, and other government officials — a number of whom were invited to participate in DSA’s recent Annual Meeting in June in Orlando.
Congressman Darren Soto (D-FL) warmly welcomed attendees to his hometown of Orlando. He discussed his legislative priorities in Congress, including decreasing the S Corporation tax rate and providing high speed internet access for rural Americans. Congressman Soto also discussed his support for the Anti-Pyramid Promotional Act of 2016, introduced by Congressional Direct Selling Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Marc Veasey (D-TX). He is committed to co-sponsoring similar legislation if it is introduced into Congress this year.
Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX), Co-Chair of the Congressional Direct Selling Caucus, delivered a keynote address discussing the impact of direct selling on his constituents and his personal experience working with a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant for a day. He shared how he co-introduced the Anti-Pyramid Scheme Promotional Act of 2016 with Rep. Blackburn to help distinguish legitimate direct selling enterprises from pyramid schemes, which purposefully take advantage of the American entrepreneurial spirit. Rep. Veasey noted the legislation will help preserve the integrity of direct selling while ensuring the financial security of hard-working Americans.
The importance of engaging with policymakers and government officials was also reflected in a number of meeting workshops. “Mobilizing the Field Advocacy & Community Action,” moderated by DSA Attorney & Government Relations Manager Brian Bennett, discussed corporate engagement with policymakers and mobilizing the field in response to government relations challenges. Stephen Gately, Field Representative for Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL), emphasized the importance of DSA member companies being involved in their local communities and the positive impact this has on members of Congress.
“Conversations with the FTC” saw DSA Attorney Joseph Aquilina moderate a panel featuring Rich Cleland, Assistant Director of the FTC’s Division Advertising Practices, Bureau of Consumer Protection — who participated via Skype. The conversation contemplated a variety of matters related to marketing and advertising law, self-regulation, and policy initiatives. Cleland discussed FTC policy and enforcement priorities including refocusing efforts toward anti-fraud enforcement, mobilizing resources to help address concrete consumer injury, reducing unnecessary regulatory burdens, and providing transparency to businesses.
DSA members also heard from state law enforcement officials during the “Conversations with Attorneys General” panel. Natalie O. Ludaway, Chief Deputy Attorney General for the District of Columbia, discussed the activities of her office, focusing on consumer protection issues such as product claims and representations. She also outlined how her office interacts with the business community and recommended ways business can build constructive relationship with Attorneys General.
Engaging policymakers and government officials is a collaborative responsibility, and DSA urges all members to be engaged to ensure a positive environment for direct selling. For more information on how your company can engage, please contact Brian Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org.