U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Thu, 2010-11-04 14:02Brendan DeMelle
Brendan DeMelle's picture

Special Interests Enabled By 'Citizens United' Spent $186 Million To Influence U.S. Midterm Races

The success of GOP and Tea Party-backed candidates in the 2010 U.S. midterm elections was enabled by a massive influx of secretive spending thanks to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC.

A new analysis by the Sunlight Foundation identified $126 million in unrestricted funds spent during this midterm without any disclosure of whose money it was. That figure represents more than a quarter of the total $450 million spent by outside groups on the midterms.

Sunlight Foundation notes that:

“Add the $60 million spent by groups that were allowed to raise unlimited money, but still had to disclose, to the undisclosed money and the total amount of outside money made possible by the Citizens United ruling reaches $186 million or 40 percent of the total spent by outside groups.”


The two leading GOP shadow groups, American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS - both founded and guided by GOP veterans Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie - are reportedly “gloating” over their influence on the elections. The two groups spent more than $38 million on attack ads and misinformation campaigns to defeat Democratic candidates.

NBC News reports that “a substantial portion of Crossroads GPS’ money came from a small circle of extremely wealthy Wall Street hedge fund and private equity moguls.”

Thu, 2010-03-11 14:20Brendan DeMelle
Brendan DeMelle's picture

Senators Meet With Polluter Lobbyists To Discuss 'Green Economy’ Bill

Senators working to craft legislation to transition the U.S. economy to cleaner energy and provide green jobs for Americans have a critical task ahead of them.  The U.S. economy is lagging due to an addiction to foreign sources of dirty energy, among other reasons.  Leaders from government, the private sector and even the Pentagon acknowledge the need to move rapidly towards a clean energy future that provides good-paying jobs that can’t be outsourced. 

Which begs the question: Why are the Senators working on this critical legislative effort spending so much time and energy negotiating with lobbyists for the dirty energy industry – the very sector that is largely responsible for our addiction to foreign oil and filthy coal and outsourced jobs?

Senators Kerry, Graham and Lieberman – who are spearheading the new green economy legislation – met today with a gaggle of lobbyists and front groups representing the carbon club.

E&E News reports that:
A cross section of industry power players met this afternoon in the Capitol with Kerry, Graham and Lieberman. Groups represented at the meeting included the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Petroleum Institute, Edison Electric Institute, Nuclear Energy Institute, National Association of Manufacturers, Farm Bureau, American Forest and Paper Association, American Railroads, National Electric Manufacturers Association and Portland Cement Association.

Wed, 2010-01-27 16:30Jim Hoggan
Jim Hoggan's picture

New Poll Results Reveal The Impact of Decades-Long Climate Confusion Campaign

A new report published jointly by Yale University and George Mason University finds that Americans are much less concerned about climate change than they were just a year ago.  Fifty-seven percent of Americans polled believe climate change is happening, compared with a figure of 71 percent in October 2008, a 14 point drop. 

The reason ought to be clear.  The climate confusion campaign - waged by the like of Americans for Prosperity, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Competitive Enterprise Institute, American Petroleum Institute and American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) - is alive and well, and obviously still inflicting damage.

Tue, 2010-01-12 13:49Brendan DeMelle
Brendan DeMelle's picture

Tucker Carlson’s 'Daily Caller' Website Bankrolled by Climate Change Denier

The primary funder of Tucker Carlson’s new website ‘The Daily Caller’ is climate change denier and GOP bankroller Foster Friess, and Carlson has reportedly lined up sponsorship from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Mining Association and Southern Company, all major opponents of meaningful action to curb climate change.

Friess donated $3 million to Carlson’s site, which is run out of an office a “stone’s throw from the White House” by a 21-person staff.  ‘The Daily Caller’ is the brainchild (if you can call it that) of Carlson and his college roommate Neil Patel, a former Dick Cheney aide.  The site’s opinion editor is former RNC press secretary Moira Bagley, immediately calling into question Carlson’s insistence that ‘The Daily Caller’ won’t cater to the right-wing crowd.

Mon, 2009-11-30 19:54Jim Hoggan
Jim Hoggan's picture

Who’s Killing the Copenhagen Climate Treaty? The Chamber of Commerce

us chmaber of commerce

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has already done everything it can to kill the chances of a legally binding agreement emerging from the Copenhagen climate change summit.

Now it can sit back, relax and watch the action from a coffee shop outside the United Nations conference, content that its efforts to derail U.S. climate policy have effectively hamstrung the international negotiations.

As explained clearly in “The Global Climate Change Lobby,” an excellent new report from the Center for Public Integrity, corporate lobbyists and trade associations focus their attention on tampering with domestic legislative efforts, and then stand by and watch as their positions and talking points contaminate international negotiations indirectly.

Business interests (or BINGOs as they’re called in U.N. speak) “can have very little effect at these meetings,” according to Nick Campbell, a European industry lobbyist who has represented the International Chamber of Commerce at U.N. climate talks since the early 1990s when the global effort to fight climate change began with the Rio Earth Summit.

If the Chamber or other lobbying groups send any staff to international summits like the upcoming Copenhagen conference, their goal is to “loiter” in the coffee shops and collect business cards from delegates they can target later on legislative matters back home.

Tue, 2009-10-20 13:54Brendan DeMelle
Brendan DeMelle's picture

Mohawk Paper Joins Chamber of Commerce Exodus

Mohawk Fine Papers became the latest company to resign from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over climate policy disagreements, adding more embarrassment to an already rough week for the Chamber.

According to the Mohawk press release:

“We believe that our continued membership in an organization that vigorously opposes sensible climate change policies is detrimental to our position as a business leader with a strong record in the areas of environmental innovation and climate protection,” says George F. Milner, Mohawk’s Senior VP, Energy, Environmental, and Government Affairs.

“We understand that the U.S. Chamber’s job is to promote policies that represent the consensus opinion of its membership; but the Chamber also has a responsibility to shape that consensus with vision, guidance and leadership that looks beyond ideological divisions. That is particularly important in the area of climate change policies,” Milner wrote in a letter to the Chamber last week.

Wed, 2009-10-14 15:09Brendan DeMelle
Brendan DeMelle's picture

The Incredible Shrinking U.S. Chamber of Commerce Faces Intense Pressure Over Extreme Climate Position

It turns out that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce only has 300,000 members, not the “more than 3 million” it claimed to represent just a day ago, before Mother Jones magazine questioned the business lobby’s inflated numbers.

The Chamber has now “quietly backed off” the 3 million figure, according to Mother Jones, which reports today that:

Since 1997, the “3 million” figure has appeared in print more than 200 times in newspapers and broadcast outlets of all sizes…
By contrast, the 300,000 figure, which appears nowhere on the Chamber’s website, is cited in the news database Lexis-Nexis only three times–infrequently enough to be mistaken for a typo.”


Getting called out for such “semantic tricks” is the least of the Chamber’s problems these days.

The Huffington Post reports that MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings, the holding company owned by multi-billionaire Ronald Perelman, is debating whether to leave the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over its extreme climate position and recent “Scopes Monkey Trial” challenge to the EPA over the Clean Air Act.

The Chamber has been losing members – real members out of its actual 300,000 or less total – at a rate of several each week lately.  Apple was the most recent in a string of high-profile defections including Exelon, Pacific Gas & Electric, PNM Resources, Nike, Levi Strauss & Co. and PSEG

The exodus has weakened the Chamber’s credibility on the Hill at a critical time when business leaders are descending on Washington to lobby Congress to pass strong climate and energy legislation. Pete Altman at NRDC’s Switchboard blog has compiled a running tally of editorials from around the country criticizing the Chamber’s intransigence on climate change in a post titled “The U.S. Chamber’s Continuing Climate Credibility Crisis.”

Tue, 2009-10-06 13:41Brendan DeMelle
Brendan DeMelle's picture

Apple Quits U.S. Chamber of Commerce Over Climate

Apple became the fourth company in recent days to completely sever ties with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over the business lobby’s backwards stance on climate change.

In a letter to the Chamber obtained by the New York Times, Apple states [PDF]:

Wed, 2009-09-30 09:49Brendan DeMelle
Brendan DeMelle's picture

NIKE Quits Chamber of Commerce Board Over Climate Rift

The exodus continues.  Nike announced today that the company simply cannot stand by and watch the Chamber of Commerce continue its campaign to derail much-needed action to address climate change.  So Nike Just Did It.

Here is Nike’s statement [PDF copy courtesy of NRDC here]:

Nike believes US businesses must advocate for aggressive climate change legislation and that the United States needs to move rapidly into a sustainable economy to remain competitive and ensure continued economic growth.

As we’ve stated, we fundamentally disagree with the US Chamber of Commerce on the issue of climate change and their recent action challenging the EPA is inconsistent with our view that climate change is an issue in need of urgent action.

We believe businesses and their representative associations need to take an active role to invest in sustainable business practices and innovative solutions.

It is important that US companies be represented by a strong and effective Chamber that reflects the interests of all its members on multiple issues. We believe that on the issue of climate change the Chamber has not represented the diversity of perspective held by the board of directors.

Therefore, we have decided to resign our board of directors position. We will continue our membership to advocate for climate change legislation inside the committee structure and believe that we can better influence policy by being part of the conversation. Moving forward we will continue to evaluate our membership.

Thu, 2009-09-24 12:02Brendan DeMelle
Brendan DeMelle's picture

PNM Resources Leaves U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Slams Stance On Climate

UPDATE: PNM Resources announced today that they are leaving the Chamber of Commerce entirely, not just the board position. See Pete Altman’s report on this explosive news at NRDC’s Switchboard blog.

Here is the new statement from PNM Resources announcing the departure:

At PNM Resources, we see climate change as the most pressing environmental and economic issue of our time. Given that view, and a natural limit on both company time and resources, we have decided that we can be most productive by working with organizations that share our view on the need for thoughtful, reasonable climate change legislation and want to push that agenda forward in Congress. These organizations include the Edison Electric Institute, the association of shareholder-owned electric companies, and the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, a group of businesses and environmental organizations of which we are a founding member.

As a result, we have decided to let our membership in the U.S. Chamber lapse when it expires at the end of this year.

Previous post:

New Mexico-based utility holding company PNM Resources announced this week that the company’s chief executive, Jeff Sterba, has given up his seat on the US Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.  The Chamber has attracted severe criticism lately from some of its member companies due to its backwards stance on global warming.

PNM issued a statement lambasting the Chamber for its recent antics:

“We strongly disagree with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s position on climate change legislation and particularly reject its recent theatrics calling for a ‘Scopes Monkey Trial’ to put the science of climate change on trial. We believe the science is compelling enough to act sooner rather than later, and we support comprehensive federal legislation to meaningfully reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect customers against unreasonable cost increases,” said PNM Resources spokesman Don Brown.

Pages

Subscribe to U.S. Chamber of Commerce