U.S. Chamber Launches Covert Attacks on Their Political Opponents

Earlier this week, president Obama met with the US Chamber of Commerce to talk about the best way to create jobs in America. He told them that it was their patriotic duty to spend the trillions of dollars of cash reserves that they’re sitting on and create jobs. In the same breath, he told them that it was his duty to make sure that the government did everything possible to make businesses more comfortable and ensure that they have the perfect climate to rebuild our economy.

And the whole time that Obama was trying to break bread with the US Chamber, they were carrying out a secret campaign to infiltrate, discredit, and destroy liberal activist groups.

The folks over at ThinkProgress have uncovered emails from the Chamber’s hired men that detail the numerous ways in which the Chamber is trying to take down their political opponents.

From ThinkProgress’s Lee Fang:

“According to e-mails obtained by ThinkProgress, the Chamber hired the lobbying firm Hunton and Williams. Hunton And Williams’ attorney Richard Wyatt, who once represented Food Lion in its infamous lawsuit against ABC News, was hired by the Chamber in October of last year. To assist the Chamber, Wyatt and his associates, John Woods and Bob Quackenboss, solicited a set of private security firms — HB Gary Federal, Palantir, and Berico Technologies (collectively called Team Themis) — to develop tactics for damaging progressive groups and labor unions, in particular ThinkProgress, the labor coalition called Change to Win, the SEIU, US Chamber Watch, and StopTheChamber.com.”

Through a number of different private security firms, the Chamber was trying to discredit the work of labor unions like the SEIU and Change to Win, activist groups like US Chamber Watch, and even investigative journalists like Brad Friedman.

These so-called security firms began obtaining private information about anyone who opposed the US Chamber in an attempt to take them down. Among the more atrocious acts uncovered so far: They sent home addresses and photos of a Change to Win employee’s wife and children, and mentioned that information was needed on his attendance at a DC area “Jewish Church.”

Another plan discussed in the emails was to try to create fake financial reports about the US Chamber and send them to the folks over at Chamber Watch. Once that group reported on the fake documents, emails show that the Chamber would then release the real documents in an attempt to show that Chamber Watch can’t be trusted and that they make up information.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been on the forefront of lobbying against legislation to control greenhouse gas emissions or legislation that would have spurred investment into alternatives to oil. As DeSmogBlog reporters detailed in the past, the Chamber helped parrot GOP talking points regarding cap and trade, they poured millions of dollars into campaign ads attacking climate legislation, and held meetings with Republican Senators to insure that climate change legislation wouldn’t pass the Senate last year.

As this story continues to develop and more emails are released, be prepared to find environmental groups being attacked as well. The US Chamber’s member corporations have a lot to lose if Americans begin waking up to the truth about climate change, and the activities of groups like DeSmogBlog are more than likely being kept under watchful eyes.


Glen Greenwald writes more about this, though not about environmental issues. http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/02/11/campaigns/index.html