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Originally published Thursday, March 11, 2010 at 8:06 AM

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Retail leaders group spent $850,000 lobbying in 4Q

The Retail Industry Leaders Association spent $850,000 in the fourth quarter to lobby on a variety of issues from health care reform to consumer product safety, according to a recent disclosure report.

The Associated Press

NEW YORK —

The Retail Industry Leaders Association spent $850,000 in the fourth quarter to lobby on a variety of issues from health care reform to consumer product safety, according to a recent disclosure report.

The Arlington, Va.-based trade group - whose members include Wal-Mart Stores Inc., The Home Depot Inc. and Target Corp. - also lobbied the federal government on legislation involving credit card reform, tariffs on clothing, organized crime, and food safety, according to a form filed Jan. 20.

A high-profile issue the group watched closely was the Credit CARD act, meant to give credit card users more information and limit policies that consumer rights groups consider abusive. The bulk of the law - which focuses on "credit card accountability, responsibility and disclosure" - kicked in last month.

Another hot button RILA watched was health care reform. The group has opposed federal mandates for employer-funded health insurance that are included in House and Senate bills because it believes the associated costs would cut entry-level hiring. But it doesn't universally oppose the concept, according to Brian A. Dodge, a spokesman at RILA.

Wal-Mart hasn't taken a position on either the House or Senate bill but announced earlier in the health care debate, last July, that it supports a mandate for employer-funded health insurance. It said the nation's current health care system is not sustainable so the status quo is not an option.

From October to December, RILA lobbied Congress and such federal agencies as the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, the departments of Health and Human Services, Treasury, Justice, Transportation, the Federal Trade Commission and Homeland Security.

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