Learn more about our policy experts.

Media Contacts

Angela Bradbery, Director of Communications
w. (202) 588-7741
c. (202) 503-6768
abradbery@citizen.org, Twitter

Barbara Holzer, Broadcast Manager
w. (202) 588-7716
bholzer@citizen.org

Karilyn Gower, Press Officer
w. (202) 588-7779
kgower@citizen.org

Dan Hockensmith, Communications Officer (Global Trade Watch)
w. (202) 454-5108
dhockensmith@citizen.org

Other Important Links

Press Release Database
Citizen Vox blog
Texas Vox blog
Consumer Law and Policy blog
Energy Vox blog
Eyes on Trade blog
Facebook/publiccitizen

Follow us on Twitter

 

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.

Copyright © 2014 Public Citizen. Some rights reserved. Non-commercial use of text and images in which Public Citizen holds the copyright is permitted, with attribution, under the terms and conditions of a Creative Commons License. This Web site is shared by Public Citizen Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation. Learn More about the distinction between these two components of Public Citizen.


Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation

 

Together, two separate corporate entities called Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation, Inc., form Public Citizen. Both entities are part of the same overall organization, and this Web site refers to the two organizations collectively as Public Citizen.

Although the work of the two components overlaps, some activities are done by one component and not the other. The primary distinction is with respect to lobbying activity. Public Citizen, Inc., an IRS § 501(c)(4) entity, lobbies Congress to advance Public Citizen’s mission of protecting public health and safety, advancing government transparency, and urging corporate accountability. Public Citizen Foundation, however, is an IRS § 501(c)(3) organization. Accordingly, its ability to engage in lobbying is limited by federal law, but it may receive donations that are tax-deductible by the contributor. Public Citizen Inc. does most of the lobbying activity discussed on the Public Citizen Web site. Public Citizen Foundation performs most of the litigation and education activities discussed on the Web site.

You may make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., Public Citizen Foundation, or both. Contributions to both organizations are used to support our public interest work. However, each Public Citizen component will use only the funds contributed directly to it to carry out the activities it conducts as part of Public Citizen’s mission. Only gifts to the Foundation are tax-deductible. Individuals who want to join Public Citizen should make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., which will not be tax deductible.

 

To become a member of Public Citizen, click here.
To become a member and make an additional tax-deductible donation to Public Citizen Foundation, click here.