WASHINGTON, D.C. – A new analysis from government watchdog Accountable.US found that since January 2017, 63 percent of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s lawsuits challenging federal regulations were filed within district courts under the jurisdiction of the conservative U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The report comes as the U.S. Chamber has faced increased scrutiny for venue and judge shopping with lawsuits aiming to block pro-consumer regulations to protect corporate profits, including its lawsuit seeking to block the Biden administration’s new final rule capping most credit card late fees at $8, down from an average of $30. 

The U.S. Chamber’s judge shopping strategy has been even criticized by Trump-appointed U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman in the matter of the credit card late fee rule: “Venue is not a continental breakfast; you cannot pick and choose on a plaintiffs’ whim where and how a lawsuit is filed.”  Yet, when Judge Pittman ordered the case be reassigned in the District of Columbia, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals went out of its way to keep the case in Texas federal court and in 5th Circuit territory despite a glaring financial conflict of interest from 5th Circuit Judge Don Willett. Meanwhile, the U.S. Chamber’s decision to sue the Biden administration to protect high credit card late fees has come under fire by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) for running afoul of the Chamber’s own stated goals.

The U.S. Chamber and the big banks they represent have corrupted our judicial system by cherry picking venues to avoid having their lawsuits heard by a fair and neutral federal judge. In their effort to enshrine $41 credit card late fees to pad corporate profits, the U.S. Chamber once again sued in the territory of the Fifth Circuit notorious for industry-friendly rulings and where at least one Judge could benefit from maintaining the status quo of excessive late fees. It’s time the U.S. Chamber stops clogging the courts with baseless lawsuits designed to enrich corporate CEOs at the expense of everyday families."

Accountable.US Executive Director Tony Carrk
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