International Franchise Association

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Learn more about corporations VOTING to rewrite our laws.

This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.

The International Franchise Association ("IFA") is a U.S.-based trade association, organized as a 501(c)(6), that advocates for favorable laws and policies for its membership of large franchisors and their franchisees.[1] It is increasingly active in opposition to popular city and state campaigns to raise wages, filing a lawsuit against the City of Seattle for its 2014 wage hike.[2] IFA is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). It has worked to oppose the pro-worker National Labor Relations Board joint-employer rule, to oppose federal legislation that makes it easier for workers to unionize, and to make it harder for workers to obtain health care.[3]

IFA's "Franchise Action Network" (FAN) was created to lobby lawmakers against what it calls "discriminatory" wage increases[4] and an "unprecedented" attack by workers, labor unions, and so-called special interests.[5] FAN's advertised partners include McDonald's, Yum!, Domino's Pizza, Burger King, Anytime Fitness, Two Men and a Truck, Jani-King, and others.[6] Past advertised partners also included The UPS Store, Popeye's, and Sport Clips.[7]

Through videos and other techniques, IFA has sought to vilify Americans seeking better wages and basic benefits while lauding its members as "job creators" whose interests must be protected against democratic initiatives. As noted below, it has also deployed front groups to help.

IFA was founded in 1960 by a group of franchise founders and owners and is the oldest trade association representing franchises, according to the group's website.[8]

In 1993, IFA added a membership level to recruit franchisees in addition to the franchisors that are its biggest funders.[9]

Included in this profile is:

  1. data about IFA, its PAC, and its Foundation;
  2. IFA's recent activities against fair wages;
  3. IFA's relationship with McDonald's and the array of labor violations that have been pleaded against its operations;
  4. IFA's role with the ALEC corporate bill mill; and
  5. IFA's connection to a variety of astroturf or corporate front groups, including:
    1. "Coalition to Save Local Businesses";
    2. the "Job Creators Network," with its Koch connections;
    3. its project "Defend Main Street"; and
    4. an array of coalitions.

Contents

Structure, Revenue, and Expenses

Mega-Corporate Leadership

IFA's most recent public tax filing reported that it raised and spent about $14 million from November 1, 2012 through October 31, 2013.[10] Its 2014 budget was $14.5 million, up from $10.1 million in 2010.[3] Although IFA has been spending big to oppose increasing the minimum wage and mandated sick leave for fast food workers and others franchise employees, IFA gave out huge compensation packages (compared with the average franchise worker), although the corporations that fund IFA pay their executives much more:[10]

  • Stephen Caldeira, President & CEO - $741,791. (Caldeira stepped down in September 2015.)[11]
  • Judith Thorman, SVP- Govt Relations - $371,771
  • Scott Lehr, SVP- US & Intl Development - $284,132
  • Alisa Harrison, SVP, Comm & Media Relations - $295,980
  • Debra Moss, VP - Conferences - $295,554
  • Matthew Haller , Sr. VP- $208,128
  • Elizabeth Solomon, VP Strategic Initiatives - $261,940
  • Jay Perron, VP – Govt Relations & Public Policy - $231,716
  • Anne Poodiack, Sr Director, Conferences - $156,382

Caldeira previously worked for Dunkin' Donuts, Pepsi, and the National Restaurant Association.[12]

IFA's Executive Committee and Board of Directors are stacked with executives from some of the largest corporations:[13]

Executive Committee

  • Stephen J. Caldeira, President and CEO, CFE, International Franchise Association, Ex-Officio Member. (In September 2015 Caldeira announced that he would step down as President and CEO.)[11]
  • Robert Cresante, Interim COO as of September 2015.[11]
  • Steve Joyce, President and CEO, Choice Hotels International, Chairman
  • Melanie Bergeron, Chair of the BOard, Two Men and a Truck International, Inc., Vice Chairwoman
  • Aziz Hashim, President and CEO, NRD Holdings, LLC, Treasurer
  • Shelly Sun, CFE, CEO and Co-Founder, BrightStar Franchsing, LLC, Secretary
  • Jeffrey Tews, Multi-Unit Franchisee, BrightStar Healthcare of Madison, WI, Chairman, Franchisee Forum
  • John Kujawa, CFE, McDonald’s Corporation, Chairman, Franchisor Forum
  • Mark Kirsch, CFE, Principal, Gray Plant Mooty, Chairman, Supplier Forum

Board of Directors

  • Michael Layman, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs
  • Doug Alison, Vice President of Industry Relations and Communications PepsiCo Foodservice
  • Jim Anhut, Senior Vice President, Americas Brand Management InterContinental Hotels Group PLC
  • Jania Bailey, CFE, President, FranNet Franchising, LLC
  • David Barr, Chairman, PMTD Restaurants, LLC
  • Susan Black-Beth, CFE, COO Super Wash, Inc.
  • Liam Brown, COO The Americas, Select Services, Marriott International, Inc.
  • Mitch Cohen, Owner, Baskin Robbins/Dunkin’ Donuts Bayshore, NY
  • Jerry Crawford, CFE, President of Jani-King International, Inc
  • Charles Chase, President and CEO, FirstService Brands, Inc.
  • Ryan Cunningham, President, Javelin Solutions, 1st Vice Chair, Supplier Forum
  • Carlton Curtis, Vice President Industry Affairs, Foodservice & Hospitality, Coca-Cola North America
  • Rocco Fiorentino, CFE, CEO Benetrends, Inc.
  • Kathleen Gilmartin, President and CEO, Interim HealthCare, Inc.
  • Peter Hold, CFE, President and CEO, Tasti-D-Lite
  • Darrell Johnson, CFE, President and CEO, FRANdata
  • Saundra Kitchen, CFE, Owner Mr. Rooter Plumbing Sonoma County, Calif.
  • Gordon Logan, Founder and CEO, Sport Clips, Inc.
  • Robert McDevitt, CFE, SVP, Franchising, Golden Corral Buffet and Grill
  • Barry Miller, President, Sylvan Learning Center of Girard, OH
  • Catherine Monson, CFE, CEO FASTSIGNS International, Inc.
  • Tabbassum Mumtaz, President and CEO, Apex Restaurants Management, Inc.
  • Guillermo Perales, President and CEO of Sun Holdings LLC
  • Karen Powell, CFE, CEO and Founder, Decor&You (Franchise Source Brands International)
  • Andy Puzder, CEO, CKE Restaurants Holdings Inc. (Puzder is also listed as a partner with the Job Creators Network.)
  • Todd Recknagel, Partner & Board Members, Mr. Handyman International, CEO, AM Conservation Group Inc.
  • Michael Seid, CFE, Chief Concept Officer, CFWshops, Managing Director, Michael H. Seid & Associates LLC

IFA's 2013 Hall of Fame award recipients include leaders of Extended Stay Lodging and Marriott International, Hilton Hotels and Resorts, Golden Corral, and Domino's Pizza.[14]

IFA's annual convention (in February 2015) featured:

  • Retired CEO of Walmart, Mike Duke
  • CEO, Arby's Restaurant Group, Paul Brown
  • CFE, VP, General Counsel of Little Caesars Enterprises, Brian Balconi
  • VP - International, Little Caesars Enterprises, Inc. Jim Hartenstein
  • CFE, President - International, CKE Restaurants Holding Inc. (Carl’s Jr. and Hardees)

IFA's Legal Status

IFA is a U.S.-based trade association, organized as a 501(c)(6), which means it pays no taxes on its revenues as a non-profit and dues paid to it can be deducted as a business expense in corporate tax filings (which does not provide the full offset that a charitable deduction does).

IFA claims to have more than 12,000 franchisee members and nearly 1,300 franchisors in addition to more than 600 suppliers as dues-paying members.[3] Franchisors pay at least $1,500 per year and often thousands more for promotion.[15] Franchisees can join for $100 per year and receive IFA publications.[16] IFA’s legislative agenda tends to favor its bigger funders, the global franchisors, as described in more detail below.

IFA's Growth

IFA has grown considerably in recent years, with a $14.5 million budget in 2014, up from $10.1 million in 2010.[3] It has 47 full-time employees, up from 32 employees in 2010.[17]

According to its most recent public tax filings:

2012 For the period November 1, 2012 - October 31, 2013:[18]

  • Total Revenue: $14,373,031
  • Total Expenses: $14,293,550
  • Net Assets: $12, 492,504
  • Total Non-deductible Lobbying and Political Expenditures: $1,334,714

2011 For the period November 1, 2011 - October 31, 2012:[19]

  • Total Revenue: $12,637,739
  • Total Expenses: $12,982,053
  • Net Assets: $11,235,193
  • Total Non-deductible Lobbying and Political Expenditures: $1,042,288

2010 For the period November 1, 2010 - October 31, 2011:[20]

  • Total Revenue: $11,647,045
  • Total Expenses: $11,514,750
  • Net Assets: $11,426,171
  • Total Non-deductible Lobbying and Political Expenditures: $609,555

Lobbying

The legislative agenda IFA has promoted through the controversial American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and other vehicles tends to favor the interests of big franchisors, which include numerous global mega-corporations, like McDonald's. (IFA's ALEC agenda and connections are discussed further below.)

Examples of IFA's lobbying or efforts to influence legislative or executive branch activities include opposing the NLRB joint-employer rule, opposing federal legislation that makes it easier for workers to unionize, opposing the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) definition of full-time employee, opposing the ACA health insurance fee, opposing the ACA employer mandate, supporting legislation to hinder state taxation of businesses, opposing efforts to raise the minimum wage, and supporting lower tax rates for corporations, among other policies. IFA claims to have a 29-to-zero state advocacy success rate regarding legislation and policy in 17 states and Puerto Rico.[3]

IFA's reported lobbying expenditures below do not match the lobbying and political expenditures reported in its tax filings.

Lobbying Expenditures:

2014: $950,000[21]
2013: $745,000[22]
2012: $650,000[23]
2011: $434,148[24]
2010: $600,000[25]
2009: $600,000[26]
2008: $600,000[27]
2007: $600,000[28]
2006: $580,000[29]
2005: $560,000[30]

Political Expenditures

IFA's political action committee, the International Franchise Association Franchising Political Action Committee Inc (dubbed "FranPAC"), topped $1.2 million in funding for the 2012 election cycle and had nearly $1.3 million in funding for the 2014 election cycle, placing it in the top 25 political action committees for trade associations.[3] It has close ties with GOP legislators; for example, it named U.S. Senator Marco Rubio the 2013 IFA Legislator of the Year.[3]

Political Contributions:[31]

2014 Election Cycle:
  • Total Contributions: $929,223
  • Contributions to Democrats: $149,423
  • Contributions to Republicans: $770,800

2012 Election Cycle:

  • Total Contributions: $971,386
  • Contributions to Democrats: $163,500
  • Contributions to Republicans: $806,886

2010 Election Cycle:

  • Total Contributions: $569,750
  • Contributions to Democrats: $65,500
  • Contributions to Republicans: $499,250

IFA Contributions to FranPAC:

2012 For the period November 1, 2012 - October 31, 2013:[10]

  • Transfer of Cash: $633,584
  • Performance of Services: $141,003

2011 For the period November 1, 2011 - October 31, 2012:[32]

  • Transfer of Cash: $590,352
  • Performance of Services: $136,014

2010 For the period November 1, 2010 - October 31, 2011:[33]

  • Transfer of Cash: $321,108

FranPAC Receipts and Contributions:

2014 Election Cycle:[34]

  • Total Receipts: $1,281,683
  • Total Spent: $1,114,126

2012 Election Cycle:[35]

  • Total Receipts: $1,238,278
  • Total Spent: $1,131,651

2010 Election Cycle:[36]

  • Total Receipts: $723,823
  • Total Spent: $664,955

IFA's Foundation

IFA also operates a 501(c)(3) organization called the "International Franchise Association Education Foundation,"[37] which pays no taxes on its revenues and which provides a tax write-off for any corporation or CEO that funds it. The IFA Educational Foundation attempts to advance franchising goals by providing information from IFA about franchising's "key role in the free enterprise system."[37] The Institute of Certified Franchise Executives, an educational program in which people can enroll to become a Certified Franchise Executive ("CFE"), operates within the IFA Educational Foundation.[38]

Here are the IFA Education Foundation's top-line revenues and expenses, as reported:

2012 For the period November 1, 2012 - October 31, 2013:[39]
  • Total Revenue: $521,442
  • Total Expenses: $853,841
  • Net Assets: $6,350,276
  • Grants Received: $430,195

2011 For the period November 1, 2011 - October 31, 2012:[40]

  • Total Revenue: $1,022,776
  • Total Expenses: $1,116,915
  • Net Assets: $5,965,203
  • Grants Received: $835,162

2010 For the period November 1, 2010 - October 31, 2011:[41]

  • Total Revenue: $1,462,778
  • Total Expenses: $1,084,004
  • Net Assets: $5,837,746
  • Grants Received: $1,142,070

The foundation is partially funded and subsidized by IFA (although it has other sources of revenues as well). There appears to be a discrepancy between the foundation's reported 2012 revenue ($521,442)[39] and IFA's reported funding of the foundation ($600,275, see below) over the same reporting period,[42] before any of the foundation's other known funders (see below) are added in.

Below are grants and loans that IFA has made to IFA Education Foundation, as well as loans to other groups:

2012[42]
  • IFA Education Foundation, Grant: $105,500
  • IFA Education Foundation, Sharing of Equipment: $55,102
  • IFA Education Foundation, Sharing Paid Employees: $368,453
  • IFA Education Foundation, Loan: $71,220
    • Total of above: $600,275
  • Institute of Certified Executives Inc, Loan: $356,369

2011[43]

  • IFA Education Foundation, Grant: $376,500
  • IFA Education Foundation, Sharing of Equipment: $49,946
  • IFA Education Foundation, Sharing of Paid Employees: $297,441
  • IFA Education Foundation, Loan: $12,037
  • Institute of Certified Executives Inc, Loan: $202,009


2010[44]

  • IFA Education Foundation, Grant: $400,000
  • IFA Education Foundation, Sharing of Equipment: $59,685
  • IFA Education Foundation, Sharing of Paid Employees: $243,392
  • IFA Education Foundation, Loan: $134,257
  • Institute of Certified Executives Inc, Loan: $104,961

IFA's Foundation makes a very small number of grants each year out of its revenue, as noted below:

2012[45]
  • Distributive Education Clubs of America: $14,500
  • National Capital Area Council Boy Scouts of America: $5,000
  • Institute of Certified Executives Inc: $20,000
  • International Franchise Association: $93,890


2011[46]

  • Distributive Education Clubs of America: $15,000
  • Marriott Minority Scholarship Program: $20,480





2010[47]

  • Distributive Education Clubs of America: $15,000
  • Institute of Certified Executives Inc: $18,351
  • PepsiCo Entrepreneurship Program: $6,000
  • DLA Piper Law Division Scholarship: $4,000
  • Choice Hotels Scholarship: $2,000
  • IRL Marshall Foundation: $895

IFA's Foundation is not required to publicly disclose its funders (nor is IFA), but some of the foundation's funders are known because other non-profits have to disclose grants to groups like the foundation.

Funders:

Known Funders of the Foundation other than IFA:

2013:
  • PepsiCo Foundation: $1,000[48]
  • William Rosenberg Family Foundation Inc: $5,000[49]
  • Gray Plant Mooty Foundation: $5,000[50]

2012:

  • Arby's Foundation Inc: $10,000[51]
  • PepsiCo Foundation: $1,000[52]
  • William Rosenberg Family Foundation Inc: $5,000[53]
  • Gray Plant Mooty Foundation: $5,000[54]
  • Gary and Diane Heavin Community Fund: $1,500[55]


2011:

  • ADP Foundation: $10,000[56]
  • William Rosenberg Family Foundation Inc: $10,000[57]
  • PepsiCo Foundation: $2,000[58]
  • Gary and Diane Heavin Community Fund: $1,000[59]

2010:

  • William Rosenberg Family Foundation Inc: $7,500[60]
  • Gary and Diane Heavin Community Fund: $1,000[61]

Select IFA Activities against Increasing (or Even Paying) the Minimum Wage

IFA is actively fighting against any increases in the minimum wage. It filed suit against the City of Seattle in June 2014 over the city raising its municipally-mandated minimum wage, along with five franchisees.[2]

The Seattle City Council had voted to approve a $15-an-hour minimum wage in June 2014. The first phase of this minimum wage increase was set to begin on April 1, 2015.[62]

IFA filed a preliminary injunction in August 2014 in an attempt to stop the implementation of this law in April 2015, alleging that the law violates the Commerce Clause, the Equal Protection Clause, and the First Amendment of the Constitution.[63] A federal judge rejected IFA's motion for a preliminary injunction on March 17, 2015 in a 43-page ruling, stating that there was no evidence that the minimum wage law discriminated against franchisees.[64][65] IFA lost an appeal of that decision before a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on September 25, 2015,[66] then announced on January 21, 2016 that it was filing an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court.[67]

Additionally, on January 1, 2015, a new rule by the U.S. Department of Labor would have required employers of home health care aides to pay at least federal minimum wage and time and a half for overtime to these aides.[68] This January 1, 2015 start date was postponed until at least June 2015 because of a challenge filed by IFA.[68]

Controversies

Defending McDonald's from Liability for Labor Violations

IFA has been very quick and aggressive in rushing to the defense of McDonald's in response to the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) complaint that McDonald's is a joint employer with its franchisees, which would make it jointly liable for labor violations.[69][70][71]

The NLRB contends that the McDonald's corporation, "through its franchise relationship and its use of tools, resources and technology, engages in sufficient control over its franchisees' operations, beyond protection of the brand, to make it a putative joint employer with its franchisees, sharing liability for violations" of national labor laws.[72]

The NLRB has evidence supporting its allegations that numerous McDonald's restaurants have used "discriminatory discipline, reductions in hours, discharges, and other coercive conduct directed at employees in response to union and protected concerted activities, including threats, surveillance, interrogations, promises of benefit, and overbroad restrictions on communicating with union representatives or with other employees about unions and the employees’ terms and conditions of employment."[72] McDonald's is fighting this case, but numerous American workers have complained of these practices, as reported by the New York Times.[73]

IFA launched a "Labor & Workforce Hub" website that almost exclusively attacks the NLRB as a result of its McDonald's complaint.[74] Similarly, a large portion of IFA's FAN site involves the NLRB ruling against McDonald's.[75]

IFA's position is not shared by all franchisors. Jim Coen, who has served as Executive Director of the Maine Franchise Owners Association, Vice Chairman of the Coalition of Franchisee Associations, and Executive Director of the New England Franchise Association, has written,

"The current franchise model is broken. Franchisees assume all the risks and costs and the franchisor is able to position itself to reap the majority of the benefits. [...] I support the NLRB decision. I believe it will bring franchisees and franchisors together at the discussion table to find solutions that will benefit the entire brand."[76]

IFA Involvement in the ALEC Corporate Bill Mill

About ALEC
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our PRWatch.org site.

IFA has a history of involvement with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

Here are some of the active ALEC bills in 2015 that relate to franchisors:

ALEC Franchisor Immunity bills were moving through legislatures in Texas and Tennessee with the help of the IFA in early 2015.[77][78]

A similar piece of legislation passed in the spring of 2012 in Georgia and the IFA touted their involvement with ALEC and in that specific legislative victory.[79]

The following referenced document provides a sampling of IFA's involvement in ALEC: International Franchise Association, "IFA-Backed Franchise Relationship Policy Adopted by American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)," organizational press release, accessed March 27, 2015.

The Labor and Business Regulation Subcommittee of ALEC's Commerce, Insurance, and Economic Development Task Force held a conference call on November 7, 2011, and Wayne Weikel from IFA presented the "Resolution on the Misapplication of Employee Classification Laws." The sub-committee took an advisory vote on the model resolution. The resolution passed both the public and private sector by unanimous voice votes and was recommended to the larger task force.[80]

During ALEC's 2011 Annual Meeting on July 15, 2011, proposed amendments were offered to the "ALEC Resolution on Franchise and Business Agreement Legislation" by Troy Flanagan from IFA, Parquet Public Affairs, and others.[81]

On April 29, 2011, the ALEC Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force meeting was attended by IFA's Wayne Weikel (Director of State Government Relations).[80] As of March 31, 2011, IFA's Wayne Weikel was listed as a Private Sector Member of that task force.[82]

On December 3, 2010, ALEC's Commerce, Insurance, and Economic Development Task Force summit included a presentation by IFA's David French on "Franchising 101."[83]

IFA's Key Astroturf Operations and Coalitions

Coalition to Save Local Businesses

IFA helped form the Coalition to Save Local Businesses (CSLB).[84] There is little data available on this relatively new group's actual revenue or expenses.

The CSLB describes itself as a lobbying, public affairs, media relations, and grassroots campaign that "seeks to inform Members of Congress of the potentially devastating impact that redefining this standard would have on their businesses and the overall U.S. economy."[85]

The executive director of CSLB as of February 2015 is Michael Layman, who was listed as the Vice President for Regulatory Affairs of the IFA and previously worked at Littler's Workplace Policy Institute and the Society for Human Resource Managers.[86]

The organization's website, SaveLocalBusinesses.com, was registered on December 24, 2014 by Sajjad Khan of the IFA. The registration information for the website lists the registrant and administrator of the website as the IFA.[87]

Despite the IFA's clear operational control of the group, the IFA suggests that it is merely one of several trade organizations and franchise businesses involved in the CSLB. Other trade organizations include the National Federation of Independent Business, the National Restaurant Association, the National Retail Federation, and the American Hotel & Lodging Association, among others. The Coalition also prominently features over twenty franchise business "Co-Chairs" from various industries:[88]

Co-Chairs:

  • Dexter & Djenane Bartholomew, Golden Corral Franchisee
  • Stephen Bienko, College Hunks Hauling Junk Franchisee
  • Herv Breault, Philly Pretzel Factory Franchisee
  • Lani Dolifka, Watermill Express Franchisor
  • Steve Duprey, Choice Hotels Franchisee
  • Clint Ehlers, FASTSIGNS Franchisee
  • Aslam Khan, Falcon Holdings CEO
  • Saundra Kitchen, Mr. Rooter Franchisee
  • Gerald Moore, The Little Gym Franchisee
  • Tabbassum Mumtaz, Apex Brands Owner
  • Matthew Patinkin, Double P Corporation Co-Founder
  • John Sims, Rainbow Station Franchisee
  • Brooke and Les Wilson, Two Men and a Truck Franchisee

Partner Organizations, in addition to IFA:

"Job Creators Network"

IFA is closely tied to an entity called the "Job Creators Network (JCN)." In April 2014, IFA announced that it had "formed a new partnership with the Job Creators Network," including "a new strategic initiative that mobilizes franchisors, franchisees and industry suppliers at the grassroots level." JCN president Alfredo Caldeiro described the partnership as a "coalition of the franchise owners, all promoting a single mission."[89]

JCN was uncloaked for its close ties with Rick Berman's PR machine by Mother Jones in late March 2015.[90]

According to that report:[90]

  • The network's media contact, Ted Peterson, noted on his LinkedIn page that he was employed as a digital-media strategist at Berman and Company. After Peterson was questioned about these connections, his LinkedIn page was briefly taken offline and then republished without his photo.
  • Berman's in-house web developer, Chris Herbert, included the web site of the Job Creators Network's latest campaign, Defend Main Street, in his online portfolio as an example of his work. At one point, he described himself as "the main web developer for the infamous Washington, DC public relations firm Berman & Company."
    • Herbert's website and LinkedIn page were scrubbed of any references to the Defend Main Street site and other Berman connected sites.
  • Mother Jones confirmed with an executive associated with the Job Creators Network that Berman has had longtime involvement with the group.

JCN, ostensibly based in Addison, Texas, claims that it was founded by former presidential candidate Herman Cain (a past National Restaurant Association CEO whose tenure there was marked by allegations of sexual harassment) and Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus in 2011 under the name "Job Creators Alliance."[91][92]

JCN claims its goal is to "bring together job creators from large and small companies to educate Americans on the vital role of free enterprise and entrepreneurship in creating jobs, spurring innovation, and ensuring America’s economic success."[93]

The group currently operates the Job Creators Network Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, as well as the Job Creators Action Fund, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization. JCN conducts issue advocacy activities on the national level as well as state level activity in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, New Hampshire, and Colorado. The CEO of Job Creators Network is Alfredo Ortiz, and employs ten other staff members.[94]

JCNF reported revenues of $1.6 million between October of 2012 and September of 2013, compared to $2.9 million in revenues during the previous year.[93] Job Creators Action Fund (JCAF) reported revenues of $1.9 million for the year 2013, a decrease from the $2.3 million reported the previous year.[95]

JCAF listed programming expenses of $1.8 million, claiming, "JCN held events across the country to educate the American people in the defense and preservation of free enterprise and entrepreneurship." The group claimed revenues of $1.9 million from those programming events.[95]

Records indicate that the entirety of JCNF and JCAF revenue is the result of gifts or grants, not membership dues or fundraising events.[93][95]

The breakdown of expenses of JCAF shows $102,306 of the organization's expenses went to salaries and compensation of staff and officers. The organization spent $1.18 million on consulting expenses.[95] JCNF spent $360,231 on salaries and compensation of staff and officers. The group claims to have spent $64,814 on consultants, while $551,830 was spent on media/marketing and $998,351 was spent on "other expenses," which includes $838,250 in "consulting."[93]

There appears to be a discrepancy in the explanation of expenses from JCNF, according to the group's 2013 tax records. As the Statement of Program Service Accomplishments reflects, the group is claiming $2,053,181 in programming expenses.[93]

These included marketing programs of $625,617 for "utilized various media outlets to reach target market," $679,974 for the purpose of "CEOs to identify, recruit, and sign up other CEOs for purpose of educating the public in the defense and preservation of free enterprise and entrepreneurship," and $747,590 for the purpose of "small businesses to identify, recruit, and sign up other small business leaders for purpose of educating the public in the defense and preservation of free enterprise and entrepreneurship." Combining the programming expenses disclosed with $253,321 for staff and officer compensation and salaries brings the group's expenditures to $2,306,502. The discrepancy comes when considering the disclosure of other expenses, including expenses to independent contractors totaling $678,919. The organization's reporting of expenses does not match on the documents.[93]

Job Creators Network Foundation and Job Creators Action Fund spent a combined $2,085,317 in 2013.[93][95]

Ties to Koch Brothers' Operatives via JCN

JCN's nominal co-founder is former presidential candidate Herman Cain. Cain has extensive ties to the Koch brothers going back more than a decade. In 2005, Cain was hired by Americans for Prosperity to lead its "Prosperity Expansion Project." Americans for Prosperity was founded by David Koch and is funded by David and Charles Koch as well as other corporate and individual donations.

Several senior Cain campaign staffers in 2012 were Americans for Prosperity alumni.[96]

The most prominent of these was Cain's campaign manager, Mark Block. Block is a former Republican campaign operative from Wisconsin. In 2001, Block was the subject of a $15,000 fine and 3-year ban from Wisconsin political campaigns following campaign finance violations as part of a Wisconsin Supreme Court campaign he managed. Block was accused of illegally coordinating campaign activities with an outside group.[97]

Following his suspension from Wisconsin politics, Block was hired by Americans for Prosperity in 2005 to run the group’s state chapter in Wisconsin. While running Americans for Prosperity, Block was implicated in a “voter caging” scheme targeting communities of color and areas with high student population to deny people access to voting.[98]

In 2009 and 2010, while working for Americans for Prosperity, Block created an extensive network of conservative political groups with apparently coordinated spending and political activities, in addition to closely allying with the campaign of then-candidate for governor, Scott Walker. See Mark Block - Related Groups for more.

One of the groups Block created was Prosperity USA, which paid tens of thousands of dollars in expenses for Cain's presidential campaign[99]

Americans for Prosperity was also implicated in potentially illegal services and expenses on behalf of Cain while he was running for president, although there was apparently no IRS action and AFP denied any wrongdoing.

Block now operates a consulting group, Block RF and Associates, based in New Berlin, Wisconsin.[100] In 2013, Block RF and Associates received $984,283 from the Job Creators Network groups.[101][93][95]

JCN "Partners"

  • American Chemistry Council
  • Americans for Prosperity
  • Asian American Chamber of Commerce
  • Asian American Hotel Owners Association
  • American Builders and Contractors, Inc.-Florida First Coast Chapter
  • American Builders and Contractors, Inc.-Florida Gulf Coast Chapter
  • Associated General Contractors-Greater Florida
  • Association Services Group
  • Ayn Rand Institute
  • Business-Industry Political Action Committee
  • Biscuit & Crackers Manufacturers’ Association
  • Cigar Association-Virginia
  • Coalition of Franchisee Associations
  • Cobb County Chamber of Commerce-Georgia
  • Colorado Women’s Alliance
  • Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce
  • Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce-Colorado
  • Economic Development Council-South Miami-Dade
  • Florida Chamber of Commerce
  • Florida Federation of Young Republicans
  • Florida International University
  • Florida Medical Association
  • Florida Society of Association Executives
  • Foundation for Economic Education
  • Generation Opportunity
  • Georgia Agribusiness Council
  • Georgia Chamber of Commerce
  • Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • Georgia Motor Trucking Association
  • Georgia Poultry Federation
  • Georgia Restaurant Association
  • Georgia Society of Association Executives
  • Gold Star Referral Clubs
  • Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce-Georgia
  • HipHop Basketball Foundation
  • Hispanic Business Initiative Fund
  • Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Denver-Colorado
  • New Hampshire Homebuilders Association
  • Hunters Ridge Home Owners Association-Florida
  • International Franchise Association
  • The Jesse Helms Center Foundation
  • Latin Builders Association
  • Latin Builders Association Academy High School
  • Latino-Jewish Alliance for a Secure America
  • Link Construction Group
  • Minority Business Roundtable
  • National Association of Women’s Business Owners
  • National Federation of Independent Business
  • National Restaurant Association
  • North Carolina Chamber
  • Network for Educational Opportunity
  • New America Political Action Committee
  • New Hampshire Center for Innovative Schools
  • National Federation of Independent Business Young Entrepreneur Foundation
  • North Carolina Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association
  • Northeast Florida Builders Association
  • Northwood University
  • Patients for Fair Compensation
  • Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce-North Carolina
  • Retail Merchants Association
  • Roswell Inc.
  • Roswell United Methodist Church
  • Technology Association of Georgia
  • The Latino Coalition
  • The Libre Initiative
  • The Millenial Solution
  • Turning Point USA
  • URETEK, Inc.
  • House Committee on Small Business
  • Virginia Manufactured and Modular Housing Association
  • Virginia Chamber of Commerce
  • VetJobs, Inc.
  • The Villages Athletic Association- Florida
  • Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • Zambrano Foundation

"Defend Main Street"

"Defend Main Street" is a project sponsored by the Job Creators Network, focusing on paid and earned media coverage of the NLRB franchise decision, as well as a petition effort around new franchising regulations. JCN launched Defend Main Street in December of 2014.[102]

Other IFA "Coalitions"

Coalition for a Democratic Workplace

The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW) is "an ad-hoc alliance of industry groups opposed to federal legislation that would make it easier for workers to unionize," the Employee Free Choice Act. It was formed in 2005.[103] "The coalition's political strategy and communications efforts are run by DC Navigators, a consulting firm that also does work for Republican politicians. Navigators explained the strategy on the firm's Web site: 'Unions lost control of the message fight; they wanted [the] fight to be a debate about [the] merits of joining a union and Navigators made it a fight about secret ballots.'"[104]

The Employee Free Choice Act was filibustered by Senate Republicans in June 2007. Since then, CDW has changed its focus to "concern over recent actions by the [National Labor Relations Board]."[105]

Money and Advertising

"The business umbrella group Coalition for a Democratic Workplace has committed $200 million overall to defeat" EFCA, the National Journal reported in February 2009.[106]

CDW had "committed $200 million overall to defeat" EFCA as of February 2009, according to the National Journal.[107]

"Rhonda Bentz of the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, consisting of more than 500 groups opposing the bill, said they bought several million dollars in ads during the last session of Congress, and plan to spend a similar amount this year," the Associated Press reported in January 2009.[108]

The National Journal reported that CDW "expect[ed] to spend close to $20 million, mostly on issue ads in Senate races" in 2008, according to the National Journal. Its goal was to maintain enough Republican seats in the Senate that Republicans could filibuster EFCA in the 111th Congress, which began in January 2009. It "debuted in April [2008] with a national cable-TV ad campaign," added the Journal. "The spots are the handiwork of Mike Murphy, a GOP ad maven and longtime outside adviser to John McCain. ... For other communications needs, the coalition has tapped DC Navigators, the Washington lobbying and public-affairs shop that Murphy helped to found. Navigators Vice President Rhonda Bentz, a coalition spokeswoman, says that the business effort has pulled in some contributions 'from seven-figure donors, but most are well under a million.'"[109]

Members

The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace consists of over 600 organizations as of February 2015.[110]

National member groups include:[111]

Local and state member groups, which are listed on CDW's website, include local chapters of the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) and Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC); groups representing owners of restaurants, hotels and other local businesses; and local chambers of commerce and industry lobby groups like Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce.

More Time for Full-Time

More Time for Full-Time is a coalition of anti-worker organizations and trade associations that oppose the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's(ACA) definition of "full-time employee" as someone who works 30 hours a week.[112] The ACA's employer mandate provision requires that companies provide 70 percent of their full-time employees health coverage if they employ the hourly equivalent of 100 full-time workers.[113] As of January 1, 2016, employers with the hourly equivalent of 50 or more full-time workers will need to provide health coverage to 95 percent of full-time employees.[113] More Time for Full-Time argues that this mandate will "cripple businesses and force them to restructure their workforce to mitigate costs."[114]

More Time for Full-Time believes that employers will drop employee hours and hire more part-time employees to avoid health care costs.[115] Despite these claims, the labor market does not reflect this fear: Labor Department figures show full-time employment increasing at about twice the rate of part-time employment during the average monthly job growth of 240,000 jobs in 2014.[113] Further, raising the threshold for full-time employment to 40 hours a week, if employers are truly lowering employee hours to avoid health costs, would place nearly five times more workers at risk for reduced hours and loss of health coverage, because many more employees work 40 or more hours a week than work around 30 hours a week, according to The Hill.[115]

More Time for Full-Time supports the "Forty Hours is Full Time Act" (S. 30), which is currently in front of the Senate and would change the ACA definition of full-time employment to 40 hours a week. A version of this bill, the "Save American Workers Act" (H.R. 30), already passed in the House on January 8, 2015.[116]

More Time for Full-Time maintains the website MoreTimeForFullTime.org, which was registered on June 27, 2014 to Jason Yusko of the International Franchise Association.[117] It contains a page that will look up a visitor's representatives and then allow that visitor to send a pre-written, pro-"Forty Hours is Full Time Act" letter to those representatives.[118] The letter claims that "because of the ACA's 30-hour full-time definition, many employees -- as well as the companies that employ them -- are being hurt by the ACA's perverse incentives to reduce the hours employees work."[118]

Members

The Coalition Partners of More Time for Full-Time include:[119]

Council for Affordable Health Coverage

The Council for Affordable Health Coverage (CAHC) is a coalition of pro-corporate organizations, trade associations, front groups, and insurance companies that actively oppose legislation such as the Affordable Care Act, specifically the ACA's employer mandate.[120][121] CAHC says that its "members believe that the cost of health coverage is too high and growing unsustainably; and that informed consumers, robust choices and competitive markets are the keys to building a more affordable, customer-friendly health system."[122]

CAHC has asserted that "[n]o single trend poses a more fundamental threat [than Health spending] to our social cohesion, prosperity and international standing."[123]

CAHC co-hosts a webinar series on the Affordable Care Act with the National Association of Manufacturers and The Latino Coalition called ACA University.[124]

Along with opposing much of the ACA, CAHC has anti-worker views on other healthcare issues, including Medicare Part D reforms, tort reform for medical malpractice, medical device and prescription drug taxes, and medical loss ratios, among others.[125]

Members

Coalition members include, as of March 2015:[126]

Team Members:[127]

  • Joel White, President
  • Jennifer Bernstein, Executive Vice President
  • Sloane Salzburg, Director of Alliance Development & Government Affairs
  • Jennifer Pielsticker, Manager of Operations & Government Affairs

Board Members:

  • Nancy Davenport-Ennis, Founder, Chairman of the National Patient Advocate Foundation
  • John Greene, Vice President, Congressional Affairs, National Association of Health Underwriters
  • Cori Kramer, Executive Director, Center Forward
  • Joe Trauger, Vice President, National Association of Manufacturers
  • Joel White, President, Council for Affordable Health Coverage
  • Debbie Witchey, Executive Vice President, Healthcare Leadership Council







Coalition for Interstate Tax Fairness & Job Growth

The Coalition for Interstate Tax Fairness & Job Growth is a pro-corporate, anti-tax, ALEC-aligned coalition that exists to push for the passage of a version of the Business Activity Tax Simplification Act (BATSA).[128] It describes its mission as "fighting for a fair, uniform system of state and local business taxation" by pushing for passage of BATSA, which would make it so a state could only impose corporate income and similar taxes on companies with a significant physical presence in the state.[128] It was formed in February 2011 as a re-launch of the Coalition to Protect Interstate Commerce.[129]

Congress has considered four iterations of the Business Activity Tax Simplification Act (BATSA), but none have passed.[130] The "Business Activity Simplification Act" of 2013 (H.R. 2992) of the 113th Congress was introduced by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) on August 2, 2013.[131] This iteration did not make it past a February 26, 2014 Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law hearing.[131] BATSA of 2013 was co-sponsored by:[131]

  • Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL), co-sponsored on August 2, 2013 (no longer in office)
  • Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH), co-sponsored on August 2, 2013
  • Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), co-sponsored on June 18, 2014
  • Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC), co-sponsored on July 24, 2014 (no longer in office)
  • Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), co-sponsored on March 13, 2014
  • Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC), co-sponsored on August 2, 2013
  • Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), co-sponsored on April 30, 2014
  • Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), co-sponsored on August 2, 2013
  • Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL), co-sponsored on August 2, 2013
  • Rep. Walter B. Jones, Jr. (D-NC), co-sponsored on October 28, 2013
  • Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), co-sponsored on August 2, 2013
  • Rep. Robert C. Scott (D-VA), co-sponsored on August 2, 2013

Only three states -- Texas, Mississippi, and Missouri -- have had legal rulings requiring that a corporation must have a significant physical presence in a state if they are to be taxed by that state as of March 2015.[132] Every other state either lacks legal guidance on this issue or has a statute, regulation, or case law to the opposite effect.[132] The Coalition for Interstate Tax Fairness & Job Growth uses this data to show the "extent of the problem," as opposed to acknowledging a trend against its position.[133]

Members

Members include:[134]

Claimed Lobbying Expenditures

2013:

  • $70,000 on Tax Issues[135]

2012:

  • $30,000 on Tax Issues[136]

Employers for Flexibility in Health Care

Employers for Flexibility in Health Care (E-Flex) is a coalition of corporations, organizations, and trade associations that oppose portions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), such as the current definition of full-time employee, wait periods, auto-enrollment, affordability and minimum value standards, employer reporting requirements, interaction with insurance exchanges and federal agencies, and federal tax penalties.[137] The International Franchise Association describes the E-Flex coalition as "strong supporters of employer-sponsored coverage [who] have been working to implement the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in ways that help ensure that employer-sponsored coverage... remains a competitive option for all full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal employees."[138]

E-Flex has been advocating against the ACA's definition of full-time employee since 2011.[139] It wants the definition of full-time employee to change from 30 hours a week to 40 hours a week, believing that without this change employers will not schedule employees more than 30 hours a week and that employers will not allow employees to have flexible hours.[140]

E-Flex members claim that the change to the definition of full-time employee will allow employers to give more hours to employees, give more "generous" health coverage to full-time employees, and ensure that lower-income employees have access to more affordable health care options.[140]

However, raising the threshold for full-time employment to 40 hours a week, if employers are truly lowering employee hours to avoid health costs, would place nearly five times more workers at risk for reduced hours and loss of health coverage because many more employees work 40 or more hours a week than work around 30 hours a week, according to The Hill.[115]

E-Flex members also heavily advocate for a monthly-basis calculation for determining full-time employee status under the ACA.[139] They claim that they have an inability to predict which employees could be full-time employees due to their respective industries' reliance on large numbers of part-time, temporary, and seasonal workers.[139]

Members

Executive Committee:[141]

Steering Committee:[142]

Reported Lobbying Expenditures

E-Flex makes political expenditures through the Retail Industry Leaders Association:[143]

2014:[144]

  • $460,000

2013:[145]

  • $460,000

Coalition for Fair Effective Tax Rates

The Coalition for Fair Effective Tax Rates is a pro-corporate coalition of trade associations and organizations that advocate for lowering the tax rate for corporations and other businesses.[146]

The Coalition for Fair Effective Tax Rates claims that it seeks to establish "effective tax rate fairness" as the best metric for making tax policy choices and then advocates that this metric be used to "reform" the tax code and lower rates for corporations and "pass-through" businesses.[146]

While the Coalition for Fair Effective Tax Rates advocates for overall tax "reform" and new metrics for measuring the fairness of tax rates, all of its advocacy as of March 2015 ties back to lowering the effective tax rate for corporations.

The coalition authored a letter to the Senate Finance Committee in March 2015 in which it emphasized multiple times that "true reform needs to address the tax laws that impact both corporations and many 'pass-through' entities that use individual tax rates."[147]

The Coalition for Fair Effective Tax Rates maintains the website faireffectivetaxrates.com. This domain name was registered on July 2, 2013[148] to Samuel Amsterdam of the PR firm Amsterdam Group.[149][150]

Along with hosting press releases and op-eds authored by Coalition members, the website hosts a membership application form,[151] which states that it is to be sent to Joy Goldman at the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors and contains three choices for applying organizations: joining the coalition as a Steering Committee member by paying $5,000, joining the coalition as a general member for free, or simply asking for more information.[152]

Members

The Coalition for Fair Effective Tax Rates is made up of 71 national organizations and 125 state and local organizations.[153] These organizations include:[153][154]

Dan Danner, President and CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), is the primary contact for the Coalition for Fair Effective Tax Rates. Jennifer Safavian, Executive Vice President of Government Affairs of the Retail Industry Leaders Association, is listed as the secondary contact.[155]

Stop the Health Insurance Tax Coalition

The Stop the Health Insurance Tax Coalition ("Stop the HIT") is a coalition of trade associations and organizations that seeks to repeal Section 9010 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("ACA"), which it calls the Health Insurance Tax ("HIT") provision.[156]

This health insurance fee, referred to by Stop the HIT as a tax, applies to health insurance companies and is "roughly equal to the percent of the market subject to the tax that the insurance company covers" when applied to a total fixed fee set forth in the ACA. Despite this fee applying to large health insurance companies, Stop the HIT claims that this "costly, unfair and hidden tax increases the cost of health insurance in the small business market and needlessly stifles economic growth."[156]

What "Stop the HIT" calls "the HIT" is a fee that applies to any health insurance issuer, health maintenance organization, or insurance company and is commensurate with the market share of that particular entity, as imposed by provision 9010 of the ACA. This fee is calculated based on a ratio of the net premiums an entity takes in annually to the aggregate net premiums taken in by all entities during that year, which is then applied to a fixed total fee amount to figure out what portion of the fixed fee amount each entity must pay, according to the Internal Revenue Service.[157]

Net premiums collected by these health insurance entities are only taken into account if they amount to more than $25 million annually, and are only fully taken into account if the net premiums amount to more than $50 million annually.[157]

This health insurance fee generally does not apply to self-insured employers, governmental entities, nonprofit corporations, and voluntary employees' beneficiary associations, due to specific exemptions in the law.[157] While this health insurance fee only fully applies to health insurance entities with annual net premiums totaling over $50 million, Stop the HIT claims that it is a hidden tax on small businesses.[156]

Stop the HIT refers to this health insurance fee as "increased costs for small businesses" that "translate[s] to restrictions on their ability to grow and create jobs."[158]

Stop the HIT describes its mission as "generat[ing] grassroots support for repeal by educating policymakers and activating small business owners, their employees and the self-employed who are directly impacted by the pending HIT."[156]

StopTheHIT.com was registered on April 7, 2011 to Tim Cuff of the National Federation of Independent Business.[159]

Legislation Supported by Stop the HIT

Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming and Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah proposed S. 183, "The Jobs and Premium Protection Act," which would repeal this health insurance fee, on January 16, 2015.[160]

Representative Charles Boustany of Louisiana and Representative Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona proposed H.R. 928, "The Jobs and Premium Protection Act," which would also repeal this fee, on February 12, 2015.[161]

Stop the HIT supports both of these proposed bills and has even written a letter of support to Reps. Boustany and Sinema.[162]

Members

Stop the HIT has over 30 coalition members, including:[163]

The Essential Worker Immigration Coalition (EWIC)

The IFA describes EWIC as "a coalition of businesses, trade associations, and other organizations from across the industry spectrum concerned with the shortage of both lesser skilled and unskilled ('essential worker') labor."[164]

EWIC supports screening of foreign workers, creating a disincentive for illegal immigration; a "new worker program" allowing an employer to sponsor foreign workers in a guest worker program; immigration reform allowing undocumented, taxpaying workers to earn legal status; and a new employment eligibility verification system.[165]

In November 2014, EWIC came out against any executive action on immigration reform, instead "[believing] there is a real chance of moving immigration reform in the new Congress."[166]

Discover America Partnership

The IFA describes Discover America Partnership as "a lobbying and grassroots campaign to advance visa and entry reforms to enable the U.S. to regain its historical share of the booming world travel market."[167]

The Discover America Partnership agenda "includes reducing visa interview wait times and testing visa videoconference technology; streamlining the Customs and Border Protection entry process; expanding the Visa Waiver Program and trusted traveler programs; and reauthorizing the Travel Promotion Act."[168]

RE: Cyber

The IFA describes "RE: Cyber" as an "initiative dedicated to CEO and board cybersecurity risk management."[169]

"RE: Cyber" was developed by the National Cyber Security Alliance and Business Executives for National Security.[170] The "ultimate goal" of RE: Cyber is the "inclusion of cybersecurity in enterprise risk management at the CEO and board level."[170]

According to RE: Cyber's webpage, it pursues this goal so "CEO's and board members can do their part to protect their companies, protect our nation's economic future and support our national defense establishment."[170]

Main Street Patent Coalition

The IFA describes Main Street Patent Coalition as "a national, non-partisan coalition of organizations dedicated to stopping patent abuse from trolls by encouraging Congress to pass comprehensive, common sense patent reform legislation -- now."[171]

The Main Street Patent Coalition "calls on Congress to eliminate trolls' ability to hide behind shell corporations, disarm trolls by improving patent quality, make it easier to punish trolls that send fraudulent demand letters, protect end users, and make trolls pay when they sue companies frivolously."[171]

Contact Information

19000 K Street, N.W., Suite 700
Washington, D.C. 20006
Phone: 202-628-8000
Fax: 202-628-0812[172]

Articles and Resources

Related SourceWatch Resources

Related Corporations

Related Groups and Front Groups

Related Individuals

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