Entries in Chamber of Commerce (11)


US Chamber of Commerce Calls Elizabeth Warren ‘Catastrophically Antibusiness’

Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Thursday launched a new get-out-the-vote effort, sending a video to members and dropping its first piece of direct mail in the general election, attacking Democratic Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren.

The chamber emailed the following video message from Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue to member businesses:

The chamber says it will reach 7 million members, distributing payroll stuffers, posters, and postcards for businesses to turn out employees and sway their votes.

On top of TV and radio ads already airing, the chamber Thursday issued its first attack mailer of the 2012 general election, the group told ABC News. The chamber had already sent a mailer in support of Sen. Dick Lugar’s losing effort in his Indiana Senate primary; but Thursday it sent this direct-mail piece to targeted registered voters in Massachusetts, where Warren is challenging incumbent GOP Sen. Scott Brown.

The mailer calls Warren “catastrophically antibusiness.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Chamber of Commerce Launches Ad Blitz in Nine House Districts

Brendan Hoffman/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Chamber of Commerce has become a major player in House races since only last week.

In yet another state where the presidential race is all but settled and the airwaves are relatively quiet, the U.S. Chamber will fill the void with a series of new ads.  On Thursday, the Chamber will announce new TV ads in six New York districts, hitting Democrats on health care, spending, taxes and regulations.

The Chamber will also air TV ads defending two Democrats, Georgia Rep. John Barrow and Utah Rep. Jim Matheson (who faces a challenge from rising GOP star Mia Love), and a radio ad attacking Democrat Lois Frankel in Florida’s new 22nd District.

With ads in nine new districts, the Chamber is now involved in 19 House races.

Last week, the Chamber began its current House blitz with new TV ads in eight California districts.  The group’s strategy, according to a spokesperson, is to target “orphan” districts in states where the presidential race is not competitive, and where fewer outside groups have advertised national messages on the airwaves.  New York and California, two big states with many competitive races, fit the bill.

“We see an opportunity to impact these races in California with a major ad buy designed to provide support to the candidates who support free enterprise principles and draw a contrast with those who do not,” a Chamber official said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


President Obama to Address Chamber of Commerce

Photo Courtesy - Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama will take a short walk from the White House across Lafayette Park to address the Chamber of Commerce Monday in an attempt to mend strained relations between his administration and the business community.

This will be the first time the president has addressed the members of the Chamber of Commerce.  The speech comes as the White House makes concerted efforts to reach out to the business community at a time when both say that their primary focus is on job creation and economic growth.

In his weekly address Saturday, the president gave a limited preview of his message, noting that "government and businesses have mutual responsibilities; and that if we fulfill these obligations together, it benefits us all."

"If we make America the best place to do business, businesses should make their mark in America.  They should set up shop here, and hire our workers, and pay decent wages, and invest in the future of this nation," he said.  "Our workers will succeed.  Our nation will prosper."

The idea of Obama delivering a speech to the Chamber seemed unthinkable just a few months ago, given the heated rhetoric between the two sides.

Obama and the Chamber butted heads throughout the fall campaign season over the use of foreign money in American elections.  Chamber President Tom Donohue did not shy away from attacking the White House over the health care law and financial reform for the first two years of Obama's term.

But in the lead up to the speech, both the White House and the Chamber emphasized the areas where they agree and their shared understanding of the need to focus on job creation.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


After Testy Election Season, President Obama to Address US Chamber of Commerce

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Does the new year mean there is a new and improved phase in the chilly relationship between President Obama and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce?

The Chamber confirmed Wednesday that Mr. Obama accepted its invitation to address its members on Feb. 7.

“We look forward to hosting the President next month to discuss jobs and the economy,” said Tom Collamore, Senior Vice President of Communications at the Chamber. “This remains the top priority of the Chamber and the business community, and we’re committed to working together to put Americans back to work.”

Obama and the Chamber butted heads throughout the fall campaign season over the use of foreign money in American elections, and Chamber President Tom Donohue did not shy away from attacking the White House over the health care law and financial reform.

This will be the first time the President has addressed the members of the Chamber of Commerce.

In October, before the midterm election, President Obama, his top officials and many Democrats pounced on a report by the liberal group ThinkProgress that pointed out that the Chamber had some foreign funding sources. It is illegal to use foreign money for political activity and those Democrats used the report to try to force the Chamber to reveal its donor list.

The Chamber pushed back, saying they segregate the foreign money from the domestic political activity.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Chamber of Commerce Relies on Big Donations to Help Sway Midterm Elections

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- New numbers may show the kind of mega-bucks being used to win elections and shape policy.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has become one of the most well-financed critics of the Obama administration, has received major donations from top companies in an effort to become a key player in this fall’s congressional elections, reported The New York Times.

The chamber’s money raising efforts last year included a $2 million donation from Prudential Financial as part of an advertising campaign to rewrite financial regulations, according to The Times

Other donations last year included Dow Chemical's $1.7 million contribution to fight tighter security requirements on chemical facilities while Goldman Sachs, Chevron Texaco and Aegon donations totaled at more than $8 million in recent years.

The numbers show the chamber’s increased reliance on big corporate donors to finance much of its legislative and political agenda.  Spending by the chamber in the midterm elections supports Republicans more than 90 percent of the time, according to The Times.

As a non-profit organization, the Chamber of Commerce is not required to disclose its donors.  The contributions, however, could be pieced together in part through public records and tax filings of corporate foundations.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Spreading Secrets: US Chamber, Others Fail to Disclose Donors

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Although the U.S. Chamber of Commerce seems to be getting the bulk of the attention from senior Democrats over the anonymity of their donors, the Chamber is hardly alone.

An ABC News analysis of Internal Revenue Service records finds the Chamber is one of at least 90,908 nonprofit groups that enjoyed the same political campaigning and financial disclosure privileges in fiscal year 2009.

These nonprofit groups, including those that engage in political activities, are not required to publicly reveal the names of donors -- a practice many, including liberal groups, defend.

“It would be an administrative nightmare,” said William Lutz, a spokesman for the group Defenders of Wildlife, responding to some critics' calls for greater disclosure.  “The vast majority of donors are small dollar amounts not given for a specific race.”

At least 137,276 social welfare nonprofits, known as 501(C)(4) groups and including the National Rifle Association and Planned Parenthood Action Fund, also enjoy similar disclosure rules and the ability to keep donors' identities private, according to the IRS.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Ten Democrats Getting Help From Chamber of Commerce

Photo Courtesy - Jim Marshall(WASHINGTON) -- In some corners of Democratic politics the uproar coming from senior party officials about how the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is paying for its massive 2010 election advertising campaign is falling on deaf ears.

That's because the Chamber, which has already spent millions on ads boosting Republican Congressional candidates across the country, has also thrown its support behind 10 business-friendly Democrats.  In districts from Utah to Virginia, the Chamber has gone on the air with television ads for these candidates and they don't seem to be complaining.

In Georgia's 8th Congressional District, the chamber recently sponsored an issue ad supportive of Democratic Rep. Jim Marshall, who is battling former Republican state legislator Austin Scott for a fifth term in the House.

"We're very thankful to have the Chamber's support," Marshall's spokesman Doug Moore said in an interview with ABC News. "We were glad to wake up one morning and have someone supporting us and not attacking us."

Besides Marshall, the Chamber of Commerce is running issue ads on behalf of Democratic congressional candidates Frank Kratovil in Maryland, Glenn Nye in Virginia, Travis Childers in Mississippi, Bobby Bright in Alabama, Walt Minnick in Idaho, Mike Ross in Arkansas, Jim Matheson in Utah, John Barrow in Georgia and Dan Boren in Oklahoma, according to Federal Election Commission reports and the watchdog group Campaign Money Watch.

Like the nine other House Democrats, the chamber has put its money behind this year, Marshall voted against the health care reform bill.

Moore called the chamber's help "significant" to the campaign and said he was "not worried about the broader discussion between the president, the vice president and the Chamber."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


US Chamber of Commerce Fires Back

Photo Courtesy - US Chamber of Commerce(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration has been on the warpath lately, charging the world’s largest business federation with accepting foreign donations in order to run campaign ads against Democratic candidates.  However, the White House hasn’t been able to validate its claims, and now the Chamber of Commerce is fighting back.

On Tuesday, Chamber president Thomas J. Donahue sent a stinging letter to its board of directors and member companies, charging the administration with a “smear campaign” and promising to “ramp up” political activity ahead of the midterm elections in which the Democrats stand to lose the House and Senate.

Donohue wrote in part, “The chamber does not use any foreign money to fund voter education activities - period...The administration and its Congressional allies are desperately trying to change the subject away from our stalled economy and nearly double-digit unemployment.”

The Chamber of Commerce has battled the White House since Obama took office nearly two years ago.  At the White House Tuesday, press secretary Robert Gibbs said that in the interest of full disclosure, the chamber should reveal the source of its anonymous donors, if it has nothing to hide.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Vice President Biden Keeps Hammering Away at Chamber of Commerce

Photo Courtesy - The White House | Sharon Farmer(WASHINGTON) -- Vice President Biden Tuesday kept up his drumbeat against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and outside interest groups that he said are raising millions of dollars for negative campaign ads, without disclosing the donors and funding sources.

"Just tell us where the money's coming from," he told ABC News in an exclusive interview after a campaign event in Des Moines.  "Why can't the Chamber say, 'These are where the contributions are coming from?' Why can't Karl Rove tell us where the contributions are coming from?"

President Obama, Biden and top White House officials have in recent days made the Chamber and Rove, a former top strategist for former President George W. Bush, prime targets in campaign appearances by administration officials.

While the president seems to have backed off his charges against these outside groups, Biden continued with his calls for disclosure and said it was not a desperate argument.

"If you have folks contributing who say they want to maintain the tax credits and ship jobs overseas, well, then, you know, when you got a guy out there saying, 'No, no, I want to build jobs in America,' and he's being supported by the guy who says, 'No, I want to … keep the tax breaks overseas,' it gives new insight," the vice president said.  "It's just disclosure. Just tell us where. Show me. Show me."

Biden said there is no evidence that these outside groups have broken any laws, but said that's precisely the issue. "They can give money without disclosing."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Is Foreign Money Behind U.S. Chamber of Commerce Ads?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- To many Democrats, the accusation by President Obama and other party leaders that foreign money might be bankrolling some pro-Republican political attack ads sounds both compelling and ominous -- but is it fair?

"We learned that one of the largest groups paying for these ads regularly takes in money from foreign sources," President Obama said last week, referring to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the second biggest spender in the midterm elections, behind only the National Republican Congressional Committee, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

A Democratic National Committee TV ad warns conservative third-party groups like the Chamber are "stealing our democracy" and spending millions in "secret foreign money to influence our elections."

An ad by the liberal group asks, "Where has the Chamber been getting some of their money lately?  From foreign corporations in countries like China, Russia and India -- the same companies that threaten American jobs."

Yet while Obama is trying to tie Republicans and some of their backers to the specter of foreign interference in U.S. elections, an examination of the evidence provides little support for the claims.

"We have no idea if the Chamber or any 501(c) organization as defined by the IRS code is taking foreign money for the purposes of playing politics," said Dave Levinthal of the Center for Responsive Politics. "Saying that that foreign money is actually going toward attack ads or any type of messaging in the political realm, you just don't know. It's speculation and nothing more."

Some funding for the Chamber of Commerce does come from foreign companies and foreign-based Chamber affiliates (called "AmShams") similar in operations of some international nonprofit groups and labor unions.

Chamber of Commerce director of media relations J.P. Fielder said that money goes to the group's general fund and then to the international division, keeping it away from any political activities.

"No foreign money is used to fund our political activities," the Chamber said in a statement, citing the rules established by Congress more than a century ago.

"We are seeing an attempt to demonize specific groups and distract Americans from a failed economic agenda," said the Chamber's vice president for government affairs Bruce Josten of the charges.

"They have not one shred of evidence to back up that baseless lie," said Republican strategist Karl Rove of the claims.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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