5/18/17 – Meeting the President


For many people, meeting the president can be richly rewarding.

Here’s what’s happening behind the headlines.

A pair of researchers from the University of Illinois examined nearly 23-hundred White House visits by corporate bigwigs. These took place during the first seven years of Barack Obama’s presidency.  The visitors were officials among the largest U.S. corporations.  Private meetings took place with either President Obama or his senior staff.

The researchers found that access to Obama and his staff paid big dividends.  For example, they noted the routine access Google executives had to Obama was instrumental in federal regulators dropping an anti-trust investigation of the Internet giant. They also highlighted the coincidence of Obama’s policy goals and General Electric’s business goals.  Only one other CEO had more White House visits than GE’s Jeffrey Immelt.

The researchers compared companies that had White House visits to similar companies that did not.

They found visiting firms received more government contracts in the 12 months after the White House visit then did their competitors.  This generated an average of $34 million more in profits for each visiting company.

Visiting firms also received greater relief from federal regulators than competitors that didn’t visit the White House.

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