Member Groups Quit Chamber Over Attack Ads

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


In an echo of last year’s “monkey trial” imbroglio, the hard-hitting US Chamber of Commerce is facing another round of blowback, this time in response to its bare-knuckled, $75 million ad campaign to elect a Republican House. Politico reports that dozens of local Chambers are expressing their displeasure with the national group’s partisan politics:

More than 40 local chambers issued statements during the midterms distancing themselves from the U.S. Chamber’s campaign — including nearly every major local chamber in Iowa and New Hampshire, key states for the presidential campaign.

Other chambers plan to take the extraordinary step of ending their affiliation with the U.S. Chamber, including the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce in Pennsylvania. Its leaders reported being inundated with angry — and sometimes profanity-laced — telephone calls from people objecting to the U.S. Chamber-backed ads.

Yet the revolt of the local chambers, which may soon include a splinter group backing curbs on greenhouse gas emissions, isn’t likely to cripple the nation’s most powerful business lobby. The locals account for a tiny fraction of the US Chamber’s budget and have virtually no say over its policies. As I’ve reported, the US Chamber’s real might resides in a handful of large companies and special interests, such as the health insurance industry’s main trade group, which in 2009 ponied up a whopping 40 percent of its $205 million budget. 

More MotherJones reporting on Dark Money

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest