I'm sure you've heard all about how various government officials and agencies think companies receiving Troubled Asset Relief Program funds should handle their meetings (in case you haven't, some references: Treasury Dept. TARP Guidelines Target Meetings, Model Guidelines for TARP Fund Recipients, Industry Response to Meeting Restrictions Shifts into High Gear, Coalition Plans P.R. Tool Kit for Meeting Industry).
Then we hear through this article on Bloomberg, Golf After Bailout at Northern Trust Prompts Outcry, that Senator Kerry of the great state of Massachusetts has decided to join the anti-meeting fray with some proposed legislation of his own.
Key points from the press release on Kerry's TARP Taxpayer Protection and Corporate Responsibility Act
• Any recipient of TARP funds shall not be allowed to host, sponsor,
pay for conferences and events and pay for holiday or entertainment events
for the year in which they receive TARP funds.
• A recipient may seek a waiver from the Secretary of Treasury for
any event which the recipient believes is directly related to the operation
of the business. The Secretary has thirty days to respond to a waiver
• Any violation will require the federal government to be reimbursed
by the company’s CEO for the cost of the event and there will a fine of
$100,000 per violation. A recipient will have 30 days to reimburse the
government and pay the fine. The fine increases $10,000 a day for each day
after 30 days.
If you'd like to send a letter to Sen. Kerry and tell him what you think, his e-mail is available here. We've been talking about this on the Miforum listserv, and several people already have let him know they are less-than-pleased with his ideas. Please feel free to join the chorus. The Meeting, Event, and Incentive Coalition has put together some sample letters you can use to get started, if you need any inspiration.
And stay tuned, because this is far from over...