1. Cause: High-skilled immigration reform
Partner: chemical companies
Both want more H-1B visas available for high-skilled foreign workers, particularly engineers. Universities are also supportive: The visa program offers a channel for schools to place foreign students into jobs after graduation, and lure other prospective students to America.
2. Cause: Continued ban on online sales taxes
Partner: state governors
Big online vendors like Amazon want to maintain one enduring advantage over brick-and-mortar competitors: out-of-state shoppers don't pay sales tax online. Some governors who've long lamented the lost tax proceeds are offering up a deal to e-tailers: I'll stop fighting the ban if you relocate your distribution facilities to my turf.
3. Cause: Fighting new cybersecurity regulations
Partner: U.S. Chamber of Commerce
No business seems excited about a set of regulations promoted by military and anti-terrorism officials to make cyber-infrastructure less vulnerable to attack. Corporations of all kinds say that updating their systems to meet the new standards would be onerous.
4. Cause: First-to-file patent reform
Partner: Big Pharma
Congress recently changed federal laws so that intellectual-property rights go to the first company (or individual) to file a patent, rather than the one who documented the earliest invention. (Most other countries use the latter system.) Small inventors resisted the shift, but large companies with teams of patent lawyers at the ready—whether Microsoft or GlaxoSmithKline—worked hand-in-hand for it.
5. Cause: New GPS-related privacy rules
Partner: mobile carriers
Privacy advocates have pushed Congress to impose restrictions on what companies can do with user-location data pulled into mobile devices. Big companies who work in mobile have been fighting back.
[Image: Flickr user Matthew C. Wright]
A version of this article appeared in the November 2012 issue of Fast Company magazine.