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Sept. 28, 2012

Shadowy Money From U.S. Chamber of Commerce Pours Into Nine California Congressional Races

Trade Organization Injects $3.3 Million Into Races for U.S. House of Representatives

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With its latest injection of money into congressional races in California, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is once again trying to ensure that the next Congress does the bidding of Big Business, not the people, according to U.S. Chamber Watch, a project that tracks the activities of the U.S. Chamber and is run by the advocacy group Public Citizen.

The Chamber is spending $3.3 million on nine U.S. House of Representatives races, the National Journal reports. The bulk of the ads will run between now and Oct. 7, although some reportedly will run later. California residents should prepare to have their airwaves inundated with the Chamber’s attack ads. But those residents should not expect to know which companies financed those TV ads, said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen.

Empowered by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, a ruling that allows corporations to spend unlimited sums to influence elections, the Chamber plans to spend $100 million in this year’s elections.

While the Chamber would like to be seen as the national representative of small business, it is in fact the leading mouthpiece for large corporations. Responding to the desires of its secret funders, the Chamber speaks for Wall Street, not Main Street, Weissman said.

“As the funnel for corporate Dark Money, the Chamber is trying to buy elections, plain and simple. Refusing to reveal its giant multinational corporate funders, the Chamber hopes that it can blanket the airwaves and deliver victories to Big Business,” Weissman said.

The Chamber refuses to disclose its donors. The organization’s president and CEO Tom Donohue claims that any disclosure would lead to “intimidation” of corporate backers. The Chamber has been a leading opponent of legislative and other proposals that would force disclosure of funders of trade associations and other organizations that engage in electioneering.

The New York Times reported in 2010 that half the Chamber’s $140 million in 2008 contributions came from just 45 companies.

U.S. Chamber Watch supports the Securities and Exchange Commission requiring publicly traded companies to disclose their spending, so that citizens will know which huge corporations are funding the attack ads of entities like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
 
Click here for more information on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its political activity.

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