DSCC Responds to Latest Assault from US Chamber of Commerce


National Chamber Ignores Local Chapters and Launches More Attacks to Prop Up Republicans, Special Interest Agenda

Despite local chapters of the Chamber of Commerce in Montana already protesting their Washington counterparts to stay out, this morning it was reported that the national Chamber of Commerce launched another round of misleading attack ads to prop up Republican candidates across the country.  According to news reports this morning, the national Chamber of Commerce launched ads to prop up Republican candidates in several states because the group knows that these candidates will do the bidding of their special interest agenda in Washington. 

“Republican Senate candidates like George Allen, Dean Heller, Linda Lingle, and others fight for these special interests over the middle class which is why this front group is propping up their campaigns,” said Matt Canter, spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.  “Every one of the Republican Senate candidates that is benefiting from these ads sides with private insurance companies over seniors, with big oil companies over small businesses, and with billionaires over middle class families. Voters are going to see these attacks for what they are and all the money in the world won’t be able to distract from the Republican special interest in agenda.”

In Montana, local chambers have already fought back against the national chamber’s political agenda, noting that the local Chamber “does not condone” the attack ads that are designed to prop up the Republican special interest agenda.  

BACKGROUND:

The U.S. Chamber Does Not Represent Most Local Chambers Of Commerce. There are more than 7,000 separate chambers of commerce in the United States.  The U.S. Chamber refuses to say how many belong to the U.S. Chamber, but there are just 249 local chambers that are accredited by the national organization. [U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Accessed 8/3/10]

The U.S. Chamber Is Funded And Its Agenda Driven By A Few Giant Corporations, Not Its General Membership. The U.S. Chamber’s tax filings show that Just 19 corporations contributed one-third of the Chamber’s 2008 income – nearly $50 million. [Los Angeles Times, 3/8/10] According to a former U.S. Chamber lobbyist, these companies have more clout when it comes to determining the U.S. Chamber’s positions and activities.  The Chamber does not disclose the identities of any of the organization’s donors.  [Washington Monthly, 7/7/10]

The U.S. Chamber Spends Most Of Its Money On Lobbying And Partisan Political Activity. In 2008 the U.S. Chamber reported spending $120 million on lobbying Congress and the federal government and more than $40 million on political campaigning. In 2009 the Chamber reported spending $144 million on lobbying and claims that it will spend $75 million on elections in 2010. [Los Angeles Times, 3/8/10; Bloomberg, 4/7/10; The Hill, 7/1/10]

Missoula Chamber of Commerce Wrote Letter Saying it Didn’t Condone Anti-Tester Ads From U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In January 2012, the Missoula Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to its members announcing that it “does not condone” anti-Tester ads from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. They called the negative ads “counterproductive” and stated, “As an independent organization governed by local business and community partners, we do not automatically agree with either the Montana Chamber of Commerce or the U.S. Chamber on their polices or messages.” [Missoulian, 1/3/12]

Butte Chamber of Commerce Said They Don’t “Support or Endorse” U.S. Chamber Anti-Tester Ads. In December 2011, the executive director of the Butte Chamber of Commerce said that he was “aggravated” by anti-Tester ads being run by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He said that “the local chamber doesn’t support or endorse the ad.” [The Montana Standard, 12/29/11]

Great Falls Chamber of Commerce Announced Opposition to U.S. Chamber Anti-Tester Ads. In January 2012, the President of the Great Falls Chamber of Commerce wrote a letter to the editor stating his organization’s opposition to anti-Tester ads being run by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He wrote, “The Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce does not support any negative ads on any candidate.” [Great Falls Tribune, 1/1/12]

U.S. Chamber President Defended Outsourcing of U.S. Jobs, Arguing That Americans Are “Short of Skills.” Defending outsourcing in 2004, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue said, “The big fundamental issue that we need to understand is we are short of skills in this country. Five years from now we’ll have 10 million skilled jobs and we haven’t got the people to fill.” [CNN, 5/3/04]

Donohue Vows to Fight Any Attempts to Reduce Outsourcing. “The chamber’s message is clear: The US must be able to source around the world to stay competitive in the global economy and the business community will fight any attempts by our government to restrict outsourcing,” Thomas Donohue, the chamber’s president, told a news conference. [Agence France Presse, 4/14/2004]

 

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