The Chamber of Secrets: An Investigation into Who Funds the Notoriously Opaque U.S. Chamber of Commerce
This report examines the voluntary political spending disclosures of the companies that make up the S&P 500 index. The S&P 500 includes the vast majority of the very largest companies headquartered in the U.S., precisely the ones with the deepest pockets most able to donate large sums to the Chamber.
This report examines whether or not the Chamber’s “all of the above” energy policy marks an actual policy shift for the Chamber or is merely messaging. We found that the Chamber’s support of renewable energy is virtually nonexistent. “All of the above” essentially acts as a smokescreen that enables the Chamber to pursue the environmentally destructive interests of the fossil fuel industry.
This report examines the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s involvement in some of the most notorious civil cases of the last decade. While its involvement in
the Citizens United case that expanded the ways it and other corporate interests may purchase vast influence over our political system is well known, less well known is its involvement in many other egregious civil cases of recent years.
Despite routinely condemning civil lawsuits and lobbying to restrict access to the courts, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is itself a prodigious litigator. This report examines the 501 most recent cases6 in which the Chamber is either a plaintiff or an amicus. It presents a statistical analysis of the courts in which the Chamber filed, the types of parties with which it filed or allied itself, the legal issues it raised, the industries and companies it supported, the governments and agencies it opposed, and the outcomes it obtained.
The Republican Party and the Chamber of Secrets: How the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Waved Its Dark Money Wand on the 2016 Elections and Elected a Slew of GOP Politicians Beholden to Big Business
This report examines the Chamber’s spending in the 2016 election cycle and how the Chamber’s efforts compare with other non-disclosing outside groups, while also comparing 2016 data to the data from 2014 that were examined in a report by U.S. Chamber Watch titled, “The Dark Side of Citizens United.”3 Our analysis uses campaign spending data from the Center for Responsive Politics.
This report updates a 2014 report published by Public Citizen’s Chamber Watch project found that whatever the Chamber’s claims about the size of its membership, a very small number of entities provided the vast majority of its funding. In this report, we update the numbers for the Chamber and its affiliated Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) as well as analyze the data for the Chamber-affiliated U.S. Chamber Litigation Center (USCLC) and Chamber of Commerce Foundation (CCF).
Undermining the FSOC: Chamber Seeks To Roll Back Regulations On Massive Nonbank Financial Institutions
This report examines the Chamber’s advocacy regarding the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC), which consists of financial regulators and was created as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to identify risks to the financial stability of the United States. The analysis is the last in a series of three reports on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s financial policy agenda issued over the past few weeks by Public Citizen’s U.S. Chamber Watch.
Undermining the CFPB: Chamber Seeks Light Regulation of Credit Cards by Limiting Powers of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, December 2015
The report highlights the Chamber’s defense of the onerous credit card terms megabanks promote at the expense of consumers. It also looks at the Chamber’s attempt to stifle dialogue between the CFPB and the U.S. Department of Defense as the agencies work to protect members of the military from predatory lending – a goal especially important for vulnerable service members deployed overseas. The analysis is the second of three reports on the Chamber’s broad attack against Wall Street reform.
Undermining Dodd-Frank: A Critical Review of the 2015 “Fix. Add. Replace. (FAR)” Agenda of the Center for Capital Market Competitiveness at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, December 2015
The report details how the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s sweeping attacks against Wall Street reform are based on policies unsupported by evidence, harmful to small business and consumers, and largely beneficial to Wall Street. The “Undermining Dodd-Frank” report is the first of a three-part series and documents some of the Chamber’s most outrageous positions and shows its tendency to protect the nation’s largest banks.
A series of investigative articles by The New York Times beginning June 30, 2015 exposed how the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (U.S. Chamber) has worked systematically in countries around the world to help the tobacco industry fight life-saving measures to reduce tobacco use. The Times articles examined the U.S. Chamber’s multi-pronged approach to fighting measures to reduce tobacco use, including opposing countries’ health policies, pitting countries against each other in international trade disputes, and influencing international trade agreements to benefit tobacco companies. This report examines the U.S. Chamber’s tactics in depth, providing additional information and documentation about more than a dozen instances in which the U.S. Chamber has intervened on behalf of some of the world’s biggest tobacco companies to interfere with countries’ efforts to pass and implement proven, life-saving policies.
Mission Creep-y: Google Is Quietly Becoming One of the Nation’s Most Powerful Political Forces While Expanding Its Information-Collection Empire, November 2014
Privacy experts say only the National Security Agency (NSA) rivals Google in terms of information gathering, and a recent survey showed that Americans are more concerned about companies like Google than the NSA. But Public Citizen documents that Google has not always warned the public before collecting or combining users’ information in new ways – and some of its collection practices have pushed the boundaries of the law. This is cause for concern as Google expands into new technological developments and acquisitions that collect information beyond what people do on the Internet.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the largest overall spender in the 2014 congressional elections among outside groups that do not disclose their contributors. It is the largest such spender in more than 80 percent of the contests it has sought to influence, a Public Citizen analysis of campaign spending data from the Center for Responsive Politics shows.
On its website, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says it represents “the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions. Our members range from mom-and-pop shops and local chambers to leading industry associations and large corporations.” However, our analysis of the U.S. Chamber’s 2012 funders shows that about 1,500 entities provided 94 percent of its contributions, and more than half of its contributions came from just 64 donors.
Despite the global recognition of corruption as a serious issue, in 2010 groups purporting to support American enterprise began a concerted attack on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, demanding changes to the law that would weaken anti-bribery laws and harm American businesses. One of the most vocal of these groups has been the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The primary purpose of this report is to examine the Chamber’s recommendations on the FCPA and to argue that, far from helping American businesses and the economy at large, weakening the FCPA would hurt American businesses and consumers, threaten economic stability domestically and internationally, and damage our credibility in the international community.
Recently the U.S. Chamber has again gone on record in support of a “tax holiday,” which would allow multinational firms with foreign subsidiaries to repatriate earnings at much lower tax rates than the current corporate rate. Following the active lobbying of the U.S. Chamber, the United States enacted a similar repatriation “tax holiday” in 2004. This report examines the results of the 2004 experience, as well as the current debate. The facts show that far from creating jobs, tax repatriation merely allowed an outlet for Chamber member companies to offshore U.S. jobs and reap personal windfalls for their CEOs.
Corporations that disclosed their donations to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce gave the association $3.5 million in non-tax-deductible contributions, which can be used for political spending, this Chamber Watch report shows. However, given the extremely limited disclosure of such giving, it’s just a tiny slice of what the Chamber is receiving. In 2011, corporations that disclosed their contributions to the Chamber gave a total of approximately between $10.1 million and $11.4 million, according to the report, “U.S. Chamber of Commerce Pumps Millions into Elections.”
The handful of corporations that secretly fund the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are influencing national policy, and spend tens of millions of dollars every election season to elect congress members that will pursue their agenda. This report looks at the top five priorities the U.S. Chamber’s corporate Congress can be expected to pursue.