For Big Biz bucks, U.S. Chamber is political attack dog


An Oct. 21 New York Times article entitled "Top Corporations Aid U.S. Chamber of Commerce Campaign" reveals that a small number of large corporations are bankrolling one of the largest non-party election campaigns in U.S. history, being conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The article describes a relatively small coterie of major U.S. corporations who supported the Chamber with donations averaging more than $1.5 million in 2008 — undoubtedly much higher this year, due to the elections — and how it in turn carried water for their specific issues, rather than (as it claims) representing the interests of what it says are 300,000 members and 3 million businesses.


"...[N]early half of [the Chamber's] $140 million in contributions in 2008 came from just 45 donors," the article notes. "Many of those large donations coincided with lobbying or political campaigns that potentially affected the donors." Among them were Goldman Sachs, Chevron Texaco, Dow Chemical, Prudential, and a charity run by Maurice Greenberg, former chairman of insurance giant and bail-out queen AIG. One corporate executive who was quoted anonymously in the article said the Chamber risks alienating its rank-and-file members by pressuring them to make large donations. “Unless you spend $250,000 to $500,000 a year ... they don’t pay any attention to you at all," the executive said. And even that's still less than a third of the average donations highlighted in the article.