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.”

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.


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.”

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…

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.”

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

Vodpod videos no longer available.


Part 2

Vodpod videos no longer available.


Part 3

Vodpod videos no longer available.


Related Articles

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.)

Obama’s Most Powerful Enemy

In the history of the United States, I don’t think that any president has ever been confronted by a more powerful enemy than the United States Chamber of Commerce and those top companies that comprise the USCOC.

The Daily Beast 

A new analysis of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s donations show just why Obama has been attacking the group so hard. The chamber, which is the world’s largest nonprofit lobbying group, receives millions of donations from big businesses and then turns the money into a powerful tool to fight regulation of those industries. For example, insurance companies poured at least $10 million into the chamber’s coffers while the Obama administration was fighting for health-care reform. Now the group has turned to electoral battles, spreading its largesse almost exclusively to Republican candidates. Its donations are anonymous.  

Read it at The New York Times

Biden blasts anonymous funding


Vice President Joe Biden sounded a common campaign theme late Friday in Wisconsin as he stumped for an endangered Democratic incumbent and another Democrat seeking to replace a veteran committee chairman: anonymous campaign funding.

“Why do you think the Chamber of Commerce will not tell us who is contributing to them? … Follow the money! Follow the money!” he said at a Milwaukee fundraiser for Rep. Steve Kagen (D-Wis.) and state Sen. Julie Lassa, who is running to replace House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.). Both candidates are in tight races with Republican challengers. 

At the fundraiser, Biden also sounded what has become a familiar campaign theme for the vice president, saying Democrats were only trying to climb out of “this god awful hole, this god awful hole the Republicans have dumped us into. And it is deep.” 

This is Biden’s third campaign trip to Wisconsin in four months. He campaigned in June for Sen. Russ Feingold and last week for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, the Democratic candidate for governor.

Secret Donations Could Haunt 2012

Huffington Post – Howard Fineman

Republicans, buoyed this fall by freelance groups spending secret donations on TV ads, should fear what comes next: an especially vicious GOP presidential race in 2012 fueled, ironically, by that same kind of cash.

In other words, the Swift Boaters of ’04 could be back in ’12 — this time torpedoing potential Republican nominees — while President Obama can stay safely ashore.

Hard-core conservative “independent” money, roaming the landscape for contenders to attack, could play havoc; so, too, could hidden money from the left, moving by stealth to cripple electable candidates.

“All of the infrastructure of these shadow parties will be established and in place,” said Evan Tracey of the Campaign Media Analysis Group. “They’ll be tempted to pick a side, pick a candidate, and get involved.”

For now, the Supreme Court rulings on campaign finance have done what they were expected to do: give Republicans a huge boost — nearly a 9-1 cash advantage in independent spending, according to Tracey.

Corporations are funneling money into trade associations such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — a fact that President Obama is noting at every campaign stop.

But the bulk of the action — and money — tends to involve individual, high-rolling conservative donors who stayed away from the action in 2006 and 2008.


So this is what’s become of our democracy. 

It’s unacceptable and everyone, independents, progressives, and liberals need to push the Obama administration to do more to stop this outrageous takeover of our government by what is essentially a “foreign agent” in the guise of The United States Chamber of Commerce.  They do not have the interest of this country at heart. 

Their business is to insure foreign monies sent to the Chamber of Commerce  produce more outsourcing, which will not be done under a democrat majority in the house and senate.

Huffington Post

Ratcheting up the debate over the influence of outside groups in congressional elections, the Democratic National Committee has made a major ad purchase pushing the case that the November elections could very well be “stolen” by foreign influences.

The committee is airing a spot on national cable this coming week that turns an already harsh spotlight on the roles being played by former Bush strategists Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie in addition to the Chamber of Commerce. Pivoting off reports that the business lobby has used foreign donations for its campaign activities, the spot ends with fairly conspicuous if not ominous shot of Chinese currency being stacked up — ostensibly for use against Democratic candidates.

“Karl Rove, Ed Gillespie: They’re Bush cronies. The US Chamber of Commerce: They’re shills for big business,” the ad goes. “And they’re stealing our democracy. Spending Millions from secret donors to elect Republicans to do their bidding in Congress. It appears they’re even taking secret foreign money to influence our elections. It’s incredible, Republicans benefiting from secret foreign money. Tell the Bush Crowd and the Chamber of Commerce – stop stealing our democracy.”