Lee Fang – The U.S. Chamber Of Commerce’s History Of Placing Narrow Corporate Interests Over Public Interest
From Think Progress:
By Lee Fang on Nov 23rd, 2010 at 10:50 am
Over the weekend, CNN’s Ed Henry drummed up the idea that President Obama should to go to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest right-wing big business lobby, to give a speech as a “peace offering.” The Chamber, which helped kill President Obama’s initiatives on climate change, clean energy, labor reform, and lobbied against Obama’s reforms on health care and Wall Street reform, also funneled $75 million into helping elect Republicans in the midterm elections. “It would be particularly good timing for Obama to try and set the agenda and tee up his State of the Union address later in the month, not to mention hit the reset button on his fractured relationship with the business community,” wrote Henry, eagerly cheering on the move. Yesterday, the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein confirmed that administration officials are indeed interested in reaching out to the Chamber.
Rachel Slajda | October 22, 2010, 10:25AM
The Chamber of Commerce, as a non-profit “business league” in the eyes of the IRS, is legally allowed to withhold the names of its donors from public filings. So it does.
The names of Chamber donors, and the amount they donate, are so secret that when the New York Times set out to find out who they were, it didn’t find much. But what it did find provided a window into the kind of legislation companies are willing to spend millions to defeat.
Think Progress – Chamber Receives At Least $885,000 From Over 80 Foreign Companies In Disclosed Donations Alone
From Think Progress:
Last week, ThinkProgress published an exclusive story about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s foreign fundraising operation. We noted the Chamber raises money from foreign-owned businesses for its 501(c)(6) entity, the same account that finances its unprecedented $75 million dollar partisan attack ad campaign. While the Chamber is notoriously secretive, the thrust of our story involved the disclosure of fundraising documents U.S. Chamber staffers had been distributing to solicit foreign (even state-owned) companies to donate directly to the Chamber’s 501(c)(6).
Two simple facts remain irrefutable when it comes to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s election spending. First, the Chamber accepts foreign money, which by its own admission goes into a general 501(c)(6) account. Second, the Chamber is buying massive amounts of political advertising from that account — just this week, the Chamber spent an unprecedented $10 million on advertising in competitive House and Senate districts.
In August, News Corporation — the media company owned by right-wing tycoon Rupert Murdoch and the operator of Fox News — gave $1 million to the Republican Governors Association. Several weeks later, it donated another $1 million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
From The Progress Report:
Since ThinkProgress.org reported on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s foreign sources of funding last week, the media appears to have been confused about the report due to the spin coming from the right. Here are the facts that our report established: 1) The Chamber gladly accepts money from foreign companies, and the Chamber acknowledges that fact. 2) Those funds go into a general 501(c)(6) account, and the Chamber acknowledges that fact. 3) The Chamber refuses to disclose its system for ensuring foreign money is not influencing our elections, and the Chamber claims, “We are not obligated to discuss our internal procedures.” While the Chamber claims that it does not use foreign funds to finance its election ads — which is illegal — thus far, the corporate lobby has refused to offer any proof to alleviate the concerns raised by the ThinkProgress report. Lawmakers and outside groups have called for investigations into whether the Chamber is using foreign money to fund campaign ads. Even President Obama weighed in last week. “Groups that receive foreign money are spending huge sums to influence American elections. And they won’t tell you where the money for the ads come from,” the President said. “This is a threat to our democracy.”
Climate Progress – Foreign-funded ‘U.S.’ Chamber of Commerce running partisan attack ads against many champions of climate action and clean energy
From Climate Progress:
The Chamber of Commerce is one of the leading lobbyists against — and promoters of disinformation about — clean energy and climate action (see “Luddite U.S. Chamber seeks “the Scopes monkey trial of the 21st century” on global warming).
Since clean energy and low carbon technologies will be one of the biggest sources of job creation this century — and since the nearly billion dollars a day Americans send out of this country to buy oil harms our economic security — the Chamber is not merely working to destroy the health and well-being of our children and countless future generations, but also to undermine US competitiveness (see Seventh Generation founder: “The US Chamber of Commerce doesn’t act in the best interest of business…. I think it’s a reputational risk to be associated with the Chamber, given their behavior”).
A Think Progress investigation details the extreme lengths this effectively extremist organization is going to elect members of Congress who will work tirelessly to ensure that the US never regains its leadership in clean energy and that we fail to act in time to avert catastrophic human-caused global warming.