The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) is the largest small business association in the U.S. It is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, with offices in Washington, D.C., and all 50 state capitals. NFIB is a non-profit that works to defend the right of small business owners to own and operate their businesses without undue government interference. Its political action committee is called Save America's Free Enterprise Trust.
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NFIB was founded by C. Wilson Harder in 1943 and maintained its headquarters in San Mateo, California, until 1992 when it was relocated to Nashville, TN. Harder began with a home office and sold the first memberships to his neighbours. His vision was to give the small and independent business a voice in governmental decision-making through political advocacy. Since its early history, NFIB's political agenda has been determined through a one-vote balloting process of its membership.
Harder was succeeded in 1969 by his son John, who was replaced just six months later by Wilson S. Johnson. Under Johnson, member Action Councils were created, which still exist today, known as Leadership Councils. Through this time, NFIB also began to gain greater recognition in Washington, D.C., and in state capitals.
John Sloan became president of NFIB in 1983. He was the first chief executive to be brought in from outside the organization. Sloan installed a business structure with a sales manager, finance and administration directed by the CFO (both in San Mateo), and expanded the organization's presence with a public policy operation in Washington, DC.
In 1983, the organization established the NFIB Member Services Corporation. The corporation is wholly owned by NFIB. Its purpose is to offer preferred-provider member benefit programs to assist members in reducing operating costs. Programs include worker's compensation insurance, commercial and personal health insurance, credit card processing, operational supplies, and discounts on commonly used business products and services.
In 1992, following the death of John Sloan, Jack Faris assumed the role of president and clearly defined NFIB's role in affecting public policy at the state and federal levels through political and grassroots activism, and lobbying with lawmakers in an integrated manner. In 1992, NFIB headquarters was officially relocated to Nashville, TN.
Jack Faris announced his retirement in early 2005. The board formed a search committee and selected Todd A. Stottlemyer as the fifth president of NFIB. Stottlemyer took the reins of NFIB on February 15, 2006, with a goal of improving NFIB's non-partisan reach and technology infrastructure.
In February 2009, Dan Danner became the sixth president of NFIB and served until February 2016. Under Danner's leadership, NFIB proved to be a driving force in opposing major governmental regulations; in 2012 it gained historical recognition as the only business association to challenge President Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as a party to the Supreme Court case National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius.
Following Danner's retirement, Juanita Duggan was named president and CEO in February 2016. Duggan has taken the lead in establishing NFIB as the source for definitive information on prospective Supreme Court Justices, with regard to their stance on business issues. Recognizing the enduring impact judges can have on the business environment for independent business.
NFIB has grown from Harder's for-profit entrepreneurial vision in 1943 to the non-profit national association of more than 325,000 members it is today.
On its website, the National Federation of Independent Business states that it is a "nonprofit, nonpartisan organization founded in 1943" and "represents the consensus views of its members in Washington and all 50 state capitals." Its PAC is called Save America's Free Enterprise Trust (SAFE).
In 2010, 25 of its members, all Republican, were elected to the 112th Congress. A number of them, such as Rand Paul, Jeff Duncan, Paul Gosar and Kristi Noem, are affiliated with or endorsed by the Tea Party movement.
Also in 2010, the NFIB became the lead plaintiff opposing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act health care reform legislation. The organization joined 26 states in the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the act. The case was picked up by the Supreme Court, which issued its ruling on National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius on June 28, 2012, upholding most provisions of the act. Karl Rove's conservative Crossroads GPS PAC gave NFIB $3.7 million to help fund the court fight. Meanwhile, many other small business advocates supported PPACA.
The NFIB supported the America's Small Business Tax Relief Act of 2014 (H.R. 4457; 113th Congress), a bill that would amend section 179 of the Internal Revenue Code, which mostly affects small- to medium-sized businesses, to retroactively and permanently extend from January 1, 2014, increased limitations on the amount of investment that can be immediately deducted from taxable income. The bill would return the tax code to its 2013 status and make the change permanent. Dan Danner, the president and CEO at that time, argued that Congress could help small business by passing the bill as it would enable small businesses to "plan for the future, invest in the economy and hire new workers."