Like Mitt Romney, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce claims to represent small business interests, and makes a big fuss about how dedicated it is to the plight of the small business owner. And like Mitt Romney, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce isn’t telling the truth.
Despite its misleading name, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is not a federal bureau. It is an independent business federation that represents the interests of rich oil companies, pharmaceutical companies, automakers, and other multi-million dollar industries. A full 55% of its funding comes from just 16 mega-corporations. In 2011 the U.S. Chamber spent over $66 million lobbying in Washington, not for small business owners, but for CEOs that are already millionaires.
This year, the Chamber has pledged to spend as much as $100 million influencing the 2012 elections. It has spent over $1.3 million just on the Senate race in Maine, in support of…you guessed it, Republican Charlie Summers.
Because the Chamber is technically a non-profit, it is not required to disclose any information about the donors behind its political activities, which include smear campaigns directed at the candidates they don’t like (i.e. non-Republicans). In Maine, the U.S. Chamber’s money has paid for numerous attack ads against Independent Senate candidate Angus King, the popular former Maine governor.
No one should be allowed to run around pumping millions of dollars into federal elections, and fighting for the rights of rich corporations over everyday Americans, with zero accountability. This is the worst kind of threat to our democratic process. To quote Melanie Collins, owner of Melanie's Home Childcare in Falmouth, Maine,
“To the rich CEO they say give us your money, we’ll do your political dirty work without leaving your fingerprints on it. Secrecy is not a small business value.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce does not support small businesses; it’s in the business of looking out for itself.