Tag Archives: Chamber of Commerce

Chamber of Commerce Wants to Rein in GOP: No More ‘Fools,’ ‘Loser Candidates’

Michele Bachmann – [Image via Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons licensed]

Good luck with that COC…

The Raw Story

The GOP’s corporate allies have set a New Year’s resolution they hope will lead to electoral victory in the 2014 midterms: “No fools on our ticket.”

Republican House leaders are planning to impose discipline on unruly members to help avert the party squabbles that badly damaged the GOP brand, and major donors and advocacy groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and American Crossroads intend to develop and fund more centrist candidates.

“Our No. 1 focus is to make sure, when it comes to the Senate, that we have no loser candidates,” said Scott Reed, the top political strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, told the Wall Street Journal. “That will be our mantra: No fools on our ticket.”

Presumably, Reed’s talking about candidates such as Mark JacobsBob Vander Plaats,  Chris McDaniel and David Barton.

Party leaders also plan to promote legislation, such as child tax credits and flextime for hourly workers, in hopes of appealing to working families.

“Working middle-class families are struggling to find a good-paying job, get ahead and keep more money in their pocket,” said Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. “House Republicans will continue to offer conservative solutions that help create better conditions for them to succeed.”

Republican House Speaker John Boehner signaled this shift earlier this month when he chided conservative activist groups that opposed the two-year budget compromise.

The Speaker’s deputies also worked behind the scenes to quiet internal dissent by warning committee chairmen that opposition to the deal could jeopardize their committee posts.

“The Speaker, and the entire leadership team, urged all House Republicans to support the [budget] agreement, which lowered the deficit without raising taxes,” said Boehner’s spokesman, Michael Steel.

Committee chairmen had helped derail a farm bill earlier this year and extended the federal government shutdown.

Party leaders will test their clout next month when Congress considers a bill to keep the federal government running and later in the spring when lawmakers consider whether to extend the debt ceiling.

The debt-ceiling debate will take place as Republican primaries start in early March, and the party’s business wing intends to advocate against Tea Party candidates.

The Chamber of Commerce plans to spend at least $50 million to promote business-friendly candidates who they think can win a Republican Senate majority, and they hope the GOP House might pass a farm bill and reform the immigration system.

But conservative activists groups say that won’t happen.

“Lawmakers do not have a monopoly on information, and we will continue to communicate directly with their constituents on important legislation as it moves through Congress,” said Michael Needham, chief executive of Heritage Action, part of the Heritage Foundation think tank. “(Lawmakers) will find it difficult to go back home and defend votes that increase spending, increase deficits and undermine the rule of law.”

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Health insurance lobby throws over $100m at defeating Obamacare

They really want this President and his policies out…

America Blog

It’s really hard to imagine what part of “here are millions of new customers for you” they don’t like, but that’s where we are today. Most of us on the left wanted the public option, which the private health insurers hated, but giving in to their needs wasn’t enough.

But no, heaven forbid the health insurance industry is asked to give a little with the windfall. Millions of new customers and no competition from the public option wasn’t enough money for the bloated and spoiled industry that keeps setting record profits.

So who is more spoiled and thankless between the bankers and the health insurance brats?

According to the National Journal’s Influence Alley, at the very same time the American Health Insurance Plans (AHIP)—the health insurance industry super lobby—was cutting a deal with the White House leading to its stated support of the proposed Obamacare legislation, they were secretly funneling huge amounts money to the Chamber of Commerce to be spent on advertising designed to convince the public that the legislation should be defeated.

How much money?

A stunning $102.4 million spent over just 15 months.

The brilliant Rahm Emanuel sure did a great job of bargaining, didn’t he? If there is a next time with health care reform, he needs to stay far away from it and the public option has to be there so that consumers get some competition. If that industry can’t show any appreciation, there’s no reason to show mercy in the future.

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Is Goldman Sachs predicting Obama’s defeat?

It sure looks like Goldman Sachs, The Chamber of Commerce, the Koch Brothers and the GOP are making a strong effort to make sure Obama is not re-elected in 2012, thus furthering their own agenda of more corporate tax cuts as well as many states turning to private companies to run schools, prisons, municipalities, etc.

The Week                                                                      

Goldman Sachs, which just six months ago forecast a stronger-than-expected recovery, hasdowngraded its prediction, saying economic growth will slow to a snail-like 1.5 percent in the second quarter of 2011, and 2.5 percent in the third. The investment banking firm also crystal-balled that unemployment will still hover near 9 percent at the end of 2012, and that the U.S. is running a real risk of slipping into another recession. With voters increasingly focused on the economy, is Goldman essentially predicting disaster for President Obama and his fellow Democrats in next year’s election?

Yes. If this prediction comes true, Obama is doomed: “Alarms bells must be ringing all over Obamaland,” says James Pethokoukis atReuters. The Obama administration, in an “astoundingly optimistic forecast,” promised that the economy would be “off to the races” this year, thanks to its $800 billion stimulus. Now, as per Goldman, we’re looking at unemployment on Election Day 2012 that’s about where it is now. Slashing tax rates and scrapping regulation “may be the only way Obama can win another term,” but don’t hold your breath.
“Panic at the White House? Gloomy Goldman Sachs sees high unemployment, possible recession”

And Republicans would rather blame Obama than help: “If you have an ounce of actual humanity, you see this as an unmitigated catastrophe,” says David Dayen at Firedoglake. But Republicans, who can “use a crappy economy to take down a president,” are cheering. Instead of pushing policies to put people back to work, the GOP is defying all economic theory and pushing Obama to focus on cutting spending to close the deficit — a move that will only pull money out of the economy and worsen matters for everyone except the GOP’s presidential candidates.
“Goldman Sachs: Jobs crisis will continue for foreseeable future”

This is nothing for the GOP to celebrate: History confirms that a poor economy is likely to hurt any president, says Nate Silver at The New York Times. But it also shows that Obama’s “situation is by no means completely hopeless.” If he can pass along the blame to the legislative branch, as Harry Truman did in 1948, he can hang on, and even help Democrats pick up seats in Congress. Perhaps it’s House Republicans who should be panicking.
“A bad economy can hurt House Republicans”

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Chris Matthews Clowns Steve King, Forces Iowa Congressman To Admit He Doesn’t ‘Trust The Words Of Any Source’

Think Progress

Reps. Steve King (R-IA), Michele Bachmann (R-MN), and Louie Gohmert (R-TX) introduced a bill today that they claim would help manage a government default if the debt limit is not raised by Aug. 2. The legislation is motivated by the right-wing triumvirate’s view that the default would not have severe repercussions on our economy. “I think we have plenty of money to service our debt,” King said today.

This afternoon on Hardball, host Chris Matthews wondered how King could come to such an aberrant determination that a default is not a threat. “You have some superior knowledge — what basis do you have for your judgement?” Matthews asked. “I do have superior knowledge, thanks for recognizing it,” King jokingly responded.

Over the next few minutes — at the very same moment Moody’s was reporting that it may downgrade the U.S. AAA bond rating — Matthews pressed King on where he gets his knowledge. Hilarity ensued:

MATTHEWS: Who are the people you’re dealing with? [...]

KING: The American citizens. [...]

MATTHEWS: So you’re polling in your district to find out whether the United States goes into default or not at the end of this month. … They know what’s going to happen…

KING: I have an independent judgment as well.

MATTHEWS: Ok tell me where it comes from.

KING: It comes from a long experience of dealing politically, and in business, and raising a family, and being an American citizen…

MATTHEWS: What does raising a family teach you about international finance? [...]

KING: That’s not my only source of information — is raising my children. [...]

MATTHEWS: Do you trust the Wall Street Journal, do you trust the New York Times?

KING: I read the Wall Street Journal. I sometimes read the New York Times. I don’t really trust it. I don’t trust the words of any source.

Matthews continued pressing King on whether he trusts the Chamber of Commerce and other conservative organizations who warn of a crisis if the debt limit isn’t raised. King said he challenges all those sources.

Matthews then asked if King could cite one — just one — international or domestic expert who he trusts on these issues and agrees with his view. King, of course, could not name one. Watch it:

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Chamber claps twice for Obama

I think The President should not have gone over to the US Chamber of Commerce to try and get them to help in creating jobs here in America.  Oh I know it’s called the United States Chamber of Commerce, but their vested interest is making its member corporations happy, not in America’s unemployed.

If that means outsourcing valuable American jobs to save the corporations’ “bottom line” so that their executives can continue to receive unprecedented amounts in bonuses, then hey, that’s what The Chamber does.

No amount of personality or concessions in the form of deregulation will change these people’s’ minds.  The President should have by-passed this group.  The same group, by the way, who spent hundreds of millions on defeating the Democrats in the last election.

Politico

The good news for President Obama: The Chamber of Commerce broke into applause twice during his speech Monday morning to welcome his ideas.

The bad news: They clapped just twice, in a 35-minute address.

Obama himself acknowledged early on that he doesn’t have the best relationship with the Chamber. (“Maybe if we had brought over a fruit cake when we first moved in, we would have got off to a better start,” he joked.)

The first applause line came halfway through Obama’s remarks, as he spoke of opening up new markets and selling more American goods in other countries.

“I’ll go anywhere to be a booster for American businesses, American workers and American products,” Obama said, to which the audience broke into applause. Then, in an ad-libbed moment, Obama remarked, “And I don’t charge a commission.”

The only other applause for Obama came at the end, when Obama once again hit the right note in calling for bringing jobs back the United States.

“That’s good for everybody,” he said. “So if I’ve got a message, that message is: ‘Now’s the time to invest in America.’ ” As the audience applauded, Obama repeated, “Now’s the time to invest in America.”

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Study: Supreme Court becoming a tool for corporate interests

There’s no surprise here.   Supreme Court Justices Thomas, Scalia and Roberts blatant association with right-wing business groups confirm that they have become tools for corporate interests.

Raw Story

Court now sides with Chamber of Commerce two-thirds of the time

Those who have been arguing that the Supreme Court is growing more friendly to corporate interests while becoming less friendly to everyone else will now have statistical ammunition for their arguments.

A study has found that the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts has undergone a fundamental shift in its outlook, ruling in favor of businesses much more often than previous courts.

According to the Northwestern University study, commissioned for the New York Times, the Roberts court has sided with business interests in 61 percent of relevant cases, compared to 46 percent in the last five years of Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who passed away in 2005.

And the study notes the Rehnquist court itself was considerably more pro-business than earlier courts.

Meanwhile, a second study, from the Constitutional Accountability Center, has charted the growing influence of the US Chamber of Commerce on the courts. The chamber started filing amicus briefs with the top court three decades ago in an effort to prompt more business-friendly rulings.

According to the study, the Roberts Supreme Court has sided with the Chamber 68 percent of the time, up from 56 percent under the Rehnquist court, and noticeably higher than the 43 percent during the relevant part of Chief Justice Warren Burger’s court, which ended in 1986.   More…

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Chamber’s War On Obama Just Getting Started

President Obama needs to shed his “bi-partisan” image and get into fighting mode these next two years.  Between the GOP, Big Business, The Chamber of Congress and The Tea Party, he is literally caught between a rock and a hard place.  Playing “nice” is not an option…

The Huffington Post

President Barack Obama’s apparent hopes to the contrary, the head of the nation’s flagship business lobby has made it clear that the corporate campaign against the White House’s agenda is far from over.

In a newly-published BusinessWeek cover story worth reading for the gloating alone, Devin Leonard reports that U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue is gearing up for more fights, and is more than willing to inject unprecedented amounts of Chamber money directly into electoral politics. Donohue’s priorities, as reported by Leonard, are unsurprising: tax cuts, deficit cuts, foreign trade pacts, and deregulation — meaning he wants to tear down the health care and financial reform laws passed earlier this year.

So while The New York Times suggested Thursday that corporate America may be softening its view of the Obama administration, Donohue finds that idea hilarious, according to BusinessWeek. “Oh, hell no,” he chuckles to Leonard, when asked if the battles between Obama and his organization have ended. “They are in the second inning.”

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Grit Tv’s The Loaded Chamber Pts 1, 2 & 3

Grit TV is doing an expose’ series on the Chamber of Commerce and why they decided to manipulate this year’s midterm elections with anonymous donor money which may or may not include money from foreign sources.

Grit TV

“The chamber’s increasingly aggressive role — including record spending in the midterm elections that supports Republicans more than 90 percent of the time — has made it a target of critics, including a few local chamber affiliates who fear it has become too partisan and hard-nosed in its fund-raising.”

So reports a headline story in the New York Times today about the Chamber of Commerce’s increasingly secretive and partisan fundraising and lobbying efforts. The Chamber, once an institution that supported small and family businesses, increasingly does the bidding of a few large corporations, and in the first part of our GRITtv Digs investigation, Harry Hanbury starts to open up the Chamber’s secrets for you.

Part 1

 

Part 2

 

 

Part 3

 

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Web Ad: Pledging Allegiance To Secret Corporate Donors

Think Progress

After reading our ThinkProgress reports on the Chamber of Commerce’s secret corporate funding, an entrepreneurial fan of our blog passed us this web ad he conceived.

 

The Report

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).

We documented three different ways the Chamber fundraises from foreign corporations: (1) An internal fundraising program called “Business Councils” used to solicit direct, largely foreign contributions to the Chamber, (2) Direct contributions from foreign multinationals like BP, Siemens, and Shell Oil, and (3) From the Chamber’s network of AmCham affiliates, which are foreign chambers of the Chamber composed of American and foreign companies. The Chamber quickly acknowledged that it receives direct, foreign money, but simply replied, “We are not obligated to discuss our internal procedures.” Instead of providing any documentation or proof to demonstrate foreign money is not being used for electioneering purposes, the Chamber launched an aggressive media strategy to first, attack ThinkProgress with petty name-calling and second, to confuse the media by highlighting the Chamber’s relatively minor AmCham fundraising, which the Chamber says (also without documentation) totals “approximately $100,000” from all 115 international AmCham chapters. The Chamber and the media largely ignored ThinkProgress’ revelation about the Chamber’s direct foreign fundraising to its 501(c)(6) used for attack ads.

Yesterday, the Chamber’s chief lobbyist Bruce Josten, who has been spoon-feeding much of the media distortions about our report, went on Fox News (whose parent company donated $1 million to the Chamber recently for its ad campaign) to again try to dilute the issue by dissembling about the Chamber’s fundraising and membership. “We have probably 60 or so foreign multi-national companies in our membership that we have had for decades, many of which have been in the United States for half a century or a century,” said Josten.

The Chamber is being deceptive. In addition to multinational members of the Chamber headquartered abroad (like BP, Shell Oil, and Siemens), a new ThinkProgress investigation has identified at least 84 other foreign companies that actively donate to the Chamber’s 501(c)(6). Below is a chart detailing the annual dues foreign corporations have indicated that they give directly to the Chamber (using information that is publicly available from the Business Council applications and the Chamber’s own websites.)

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Filed under GOP Agenda, GOP Fundraising, GOP Hubris, GOP Obstructionism

Karl Rove is Pissed at Barack Obama

After reading this short piece I’ve come to the conclusion that although he was forced to tow the “Christine O’Donnell line” against his will, Rove has still maintained his Orwellian logic. 

To Rove lies equal “truth” and evil equals good, etc.  His one line statement at the end of the article below confirms my theory.

New Yorker

So, the Obama administration is convinced that the GOP, including Karl Rove, and the Chamber of Commerce funded a deluge of midterm-election ads with money from undisclosed foreign corporations. Yesterday, a Times piece questioned whether that practice is “improper, or even unusual,” but this morning on Face the Nation, White House senior adviser David Axelrod said hell yeah it is:

“Why not simply disclose where this money is coming from? And then all of these questions’ll be answered. These interest groups … are now the major force in some of these campaigns … This issue of this special-interest spending is very important. It’s never happened before, that organizations are spending this kind of money.”

So, the White House is running a new ad this week that dubs Karl Rove and Republican strategist Ed Gillespie “Bush cronies,” and calls the Chamber of Commerce “shills for big business.” In response, with a sneer visible even via e-mail, Rove told Politico: “It is sad to see the president diminish his office by these baseless attacks. Even the truth doesn’t restrain him when it comes to assaulting his enemies list.” Thus, Karl Rove is pissed. The ad’s running anyway. ‘Till next time!

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