United States: Joe Andrew Addresses The American Chamber Of Commerce In Warsaw, Poland

Last Updated: June 11 2013
Article by Joe J. Andrew

Dentons Global Chair Joe Andrew delivered opening remarks to a recent Warsaw gathering of more than 70 representatives of leading businesses and government agencies in Poland.

Contrasting the role of outside stakeholders in the American and Polish legislative and rulemaking systems, Andrew’s presentation focused on what he called “the four ‘Ts’” for increasing meaningful stakeholder participation in government: timing, transparency, trust and thought leadership.

The second in a three-part series sponsored by the American Chamber of Commerce in Poland called, “US standards in law making – why it makes sense to talk”, the event featured a panel discussion moderated by Dentons Warsaw partner Igor Ostrowski and including Adam Jasser, Secretary of State in the Chancellery of the Prime Minister and Chair of the Permanent Committee of the Council of Ministers; Mariusz Haładyj, Deputy Minister of Economy, Krzysztof Kwiatkowski, former Minister of Justice and current Member of Parliament; Mirosław Barszcz, former Minister and Adviser to the Minister of Justice. Panelists concentrated on the fourth T: “thought leadership” and emphasized the need of state agencies to cooperate with other stakeholders which possess the relevant expertise throughout the legislative process, not just during a limited public consultation window. In order for this to occur, all stakeholders need to ensure that the dialogue is built on high ethical standards, ensuring that trust and transparency are the founding blocks of the process. Transfer of the relevant know-how from the U.S to Poland is essential in this respect.

The event took place Tuesday, May 21, 2013.


I want to thank all of you for coming this morning, and especially express my thanks to American Chamber of Commerce in Poland for sponsoring this very well attended event, and my thanks to the members of this distinguished panel, particularly the current Ministers.

Thank you also for that very warm introduction. There are two facts hidden in that introduction that are relevant to our conversation today. First, I served as the National Chairman of the Democratic Party in the last two years of President Bill Clinton’s term, which means that I was there during two Constitutional crises—first the impeachment of President Clinton and second the contested recount in Florida during Vice President Al Gore’s campaign for President.

As one of my more conservative partners told me, “if you can defend Bill Clinton during the impeachment and promote Al Gore during the recount, then you are qualified to either run a mental institution or a global law firm.”

I responded, “And what is the difference between those two jobs?”

But seriously, when people talk about how the United States’ government is becoming dysfunctional because partisanship has reached such a point that there is complete gridlock, many people point to those two events—the impeachment of the President and the 2000 Recount. Thus, before I give any advice on how your government should work, let me note that we in the US are fair from perfect and far from efficient or effective in all we do.

The second fact hidden in that introduction was that I am from northern Indiana. Standing here in Warsaw, Poland let me give you a sense of where that is. First, imagine where Chicago is. Chicago is the largest Polish city in the world not in Poland. Then move a bit more east to South Bend where Notre Dame, one of the world’s great Catholic Universities, where there are more Polish Professors than almost any other school in the world outside of Poland. Just a half an hour away is Warsaw, Indiana named after Warsaw, Poland. In both Warsaw and in South Bend we celebrate Saint Dingus day on the Monday after Easter, because of the large Polish populations.

But Warsaw, Indiana, where I still today own a lake cottage on Lake Tippecanoe, is in Kosciuszko County, named after Tadeusz Kosciuszko. So, from a very early age, I was aware of Kosciuszko’s role as a patriot in America’s Revolutionary War, just like General Pulaski, the founder of the American Calvary. It wasn’t until I was much older that I discovered that after our War for Independence, Kosciuszko went on to become a revered patriot here in Poland for his efforts to defend the country against Tsarist Russia.

As you know better than I, Kosciuszko was part of the reform movement that influenced the Great Sejm, which met from 1788 to 1792 and produced the first written constitution in modern Europe. Kosciuszko was not a member of the parliament, but he did seek to influence it. For example, he attempted to have the parliament adopt a military model similar to the American tradition of local militias, but the Grand Sejm opted for a standing army instead.

So there is a long tradition of people who have visited America and coming back to Poland and telling people how to do things. Fortunately, for reasons I will come back to, the smart people of Poland do not always listen to such advice. But if I can make up a new Polish proverb here today, May we all benefit, like General Kosciuszko did, from positions we disagree with.

The topics we are discussing today about governance, influence and the exchange of ideas between the United States and Poland is a tradition that is at least 225 years old.

I know today’s discussion will focus mainly on the contrasts between how America and other political systems accommodate the input of outside stakeholders in the legislative and rulemaking process and how these matters are handled in Poland. But I thought it might be good to start by pointing out what our systems have in common.

On the face of it, the impetus for laws and regulations in the US and Poland usually lie within the government. After all, it is the rare private sector business or industry that seeks more regulations and government interference.

In both countries, stakeholders are allowed to comment in some fashion on regulatory proposals.

In both countries, there is ongoing concern that representatives of interests outside the government may exert undue influence on policymakers.

And, finally, there is agreement that, for good or ill, the government does have the power to regulate commerce and the authority to establish the systems by which those regulations are enforced.

You might ask, given these commonalities, why are we even meeting today? In my case, perhaps we can all draw inspiration from a real Polish proverb that says that, “a guest sees more in an hour than a host sees in a year.”

So as your guest, let me note that the devil is truly in the details. Those details are all about timing, trust, transparency, and thought leadership.

Yes, both of our systems provide for comment periods on proposed rules and laws, but in the American system, consultations with stakeholders are seen as a developmental step; they come in the early stages of the process as policies are being formulated. So timing is an issue.

And yes, regulators and citizens in both countries worry that contact between policymakers and stakeholder advocates can lead to undue influence for the stakeholders at the expense of the public good. But in the American system, there are regulations on both the government officials and the stakeholder representatives that discourage inappropriate relationships while still encouraging the dialogue necessary to make laws and rules. So transparency and trust are issues.

Finally, while both of our countries recognize the primacy of government in creating laws and regulations, in the US, no one would ever claim that policymakers are the only ones with the expertise and the experience to decide what those policies should be. So thought leadership is also an issue.

So I would like to spend a little time focusing on these “four Ts”: timing, transparency, trust and thought leadership – and the role they can and should play in policy making.

Let’s start with timing. It’s my understanding that, in Poland, input from outside interests comes at the end of the legislative and rulemaking processes. This understandably causes tensions between stakeholders and government officials. The policymakers put a considerable amount of time into developing the policies so criticisms that come at the end of their work can be read as dismissive of all their prior consideration. By the same token, given the policymakers’ investment of effort, outside stakeholders can be forgiven for wondering if any suggested modifications so late in the process will be truly given their due.

In the United States, stakeholder consultation comes much earlier and in many forms. Let me note examples of how outside stakeholders are able to provide comments during the rulemaking process.

Early on, all proposed rules are published in the US Federal Register and assigned a months-long comment period during which any citizen, organization, business or interest group can submit endorsements or criticisms. Policymakers consider these suggestions, consider the sources, accept some and reject others before finalizing the regulations.

Agencies may also host public comment sessions where concerned parties can express their opinions in person.

In addition, many agencies have a variety of advisory groups, consisting of representatives from businesses, trade associations and citizens groups who may suggest new regulations and serve as a sounding board for proposed rules.

There are even instances in which his department “open sourced” a policy. Instead of authoring a first draft, the agency asked stakeholders and the public for ideas about how to accelerate the commercialization of research at universities and federal laboratories. After receiving hundreds of comments, they pulled together some recommendations and submitted them to one of the agency’s advisory councils for review. The advisory group then shared the recommendations with the White House and Congress and they served as basis for new procedures.

In Congress, it is not unusual at all for trade associations, labor unions, advocacy groups and not for profit organizations to convince legislators to introduce or sponsor legislation. After the legislation is introduced, legislative committees and subcommittees hold hearings featuring testimony from stakeholder representatives. The subcommittees and committees consider amendments to the draft bill. After a committee approves the legislation, advocates and critics of the legislation contact individual legislators, often working with constituents of the legislators to make the “home town” case for or against the bill. A bill can be amended in the full House or Senate and once it passes one chamber, it goes to the other and the process starts all over again. So there is ample opportunity public commentary on the proposal and there are many points in the process for modifying the proposal.

My goal is not to tell you that this system is perfect. It is merely to show how there are myriad opportunities for rule makers and legislators to accept input long before a law or policy is finalized.

Second, transparency. The type of exchange I just described between citizens, government officials and stakeholders works only if there is overall confidence in the system. As I referenced earlier, there is a noticeable portion of the American public that fears that the access to legislators and rule makers that I just described DOES give undue influence to special interests at the expense of the public good. But these fears are mitigated by restrictions on legislators and regulations of advocates that help maintain transparency and trust in the system.

If I had to describe the overall goals of those restrictions and regulations it would be this: to encourage the maximum amount of contact between policymakers and individual citizens and advocates, which is a constitutionally protected right in the United States, while discouraging behind the scenes deals and personal profiteering. Legislators and officials are prohibited from receiving gifts and meals for the most part. Lobbyists are required to publicly file information regarding whom they lobby for and how much their clients pay them. Campaign finance laws require the reporting of contributions.

Now, all of this is not to say that the possibilities of quid pro quo relationships are completely eliminated. Far from it. But it does allow the press, the public and stakeholders to see who is doing what and why. Voters can then decide for themselves whether they are comfortable with the records of administration officials or their individual legislators.

In some cases, such transparency confirms the public trust; in others it might undermine it. But in all cases, the system is designed to encourage consultation from everyone while discouraging undue influence. In the American system, encouraging more contact from all quarters is seen as the antidote to the influence that limited, private contact might bring.

Third, trust. The question then becomes how can you build trust between stakeholders and policymakers here in Poland? Many of you in this room have been working on these issues for a long time and I would not pretend for a minute that I know all that you do. But the late Stephen Covey, a business professor who is best known for writing the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, observed that trust involves confidence in character and confidence in capability. Character and Confidence. He wrote that character involves aspects of integrity, motive and intent. Capability involves skills, track records and results. The American system tries to preserve trust by, at least, restraining the ability of legislators and government officials to put personal interests ahead of the public interest. And its transparency allows observers to measure the track record of policymakers against the efforts of those who try to influence them.

As it relates to specific policies, trust can only be built over time and in an environment where incremental steps can be used to prove that all sides, the private sector and the government regulators and legislators are worthy of one another’s trust.

Which brings us to thought leadership.

The idea that only one sector of either of our economies – the private sector, the government sector, the NGO sector – has a monopoly on good ideas should, by now, be discredited. If we are truly interested in making economies and regulatory regimes more efficient, we should be seeking the best practices from around the world and from all sectors of the economy.

The European Commission regularly accepts white papers and green papers from third parties before it proposes regulations. In the United States, we have a large number of independent policy institutes and think tanks, some ideologically driven, devoted solely to promoting specific policies in the public marketplace and with policy makers. Trade associations, universities, research institutes, business consultants and, yes, even law firms, all publish policy analyses and proposals. In fact, at Dentons, one of our goals is to increase our level of thought leadership. Our lawyers can use their immense expertise in the industry sectors in which they specialize to inform policies with real world insights. On many issues, these could be the starting points for policy development.

The key is to foster an environment of openness: openness to ideas from all sources; openness to scrutiny from the public, the press and other stakeholders; openness to engagement between government officials, their citizens and the private sector. The goal of the legislature and the government in a democratic society ought to be to balance all the interests present in that society, to seek the best ideas wherever they may come from and to inform policies with real world expertise and experience over ideological theory.

That is why these four concepts are key to any discussion about the interaction of government with those that it governs. Timing, trust, transparency and thought leadership outline the key issues that must be wrestled with, argued about, and understood by all of those involved.

Let me come full circle. When the Grand Sejm established a standing army instead of Kosciuszko’s proposed militia system, it was, in fact, adopting the military model that General George Washington preferred. During the American Revolution, Washington had seen the weaknesses of temporary and ill-trained militias against the professional army of an imperial power. Washington came to realize that the Continental Army, a permanent fighting force, trained by skilled professionals like Kosciuszko, tempered by repeated battle and immune to the vagaries of limited enrollment, was the key to victory. Washington disagreed with Kosciuszko, and as the first American felt compelled to let Poland know his views, just like I have done today.

Kosciuszko had advocated to his own government, and his proposal had been rejected. Nevertheless, he benefitted from the Grand Sejm’s wisdom. He was made a general in the new army.

Thus, as my new Polish proverb says, whether you agree with me today or not, may we all benefit from positions we disagree with. May we all benefit from our continued dialogue on these important issues.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Events from this Firm
30 Jan 2019, Other, Chicago, United States

Please join us on January 30, 2019, for the Fifth Annual Courageous Counsel Leadership Institute. This year's theme is "Risk and reward: Creating a culture that promotes innovation, change and growth.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions