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United States Chamber of Commerce

United States Chamber of Commerce
Founded 1912
Founder Charles Nagel
Type Advocacy group
Focus Business advocacy
  • Washington, D.C.
Area served
United States industry
Method Political lobbying, Public relations
Key people
Tom J. Donohue, President
Slogan Fighting for your business

The United States Chamber of Commerce (USCC) is a business-oriented American lobbying group. It is not an agency of the United States government.

Politically, the Chamber is generally considered to be a [30][33][34][35] All branches, corporations, and members of the Chamber pay dues; the question is how they divide the money for expenses in national campaigns.

The truth of these allegations is unknown, as neither the Chamber nor its detractors can provide any concrete evidence to support or refute the allegations.[36] In reference to the matter, Tom Donohue wrote his council and members on October 12, 2010. He stated, "Let me be clear. The Chamber does not use any foreign money to fund voter education activities—period. We have strict financial controls in place to ensure this. The funds we receive from American Chambers of Commerce abroad, bilateral business councils, and non-U.S. based global companies represent a small fraction of our more than $200 million annual revenues. Under our accounting system, these revenues are never used to support any political activities. We are in full compliance with all laws and regulations."[37][38][39] Organizations Think Progress, and People for the American Way rallied against the Chamber at the Justice Department to start an injunction for a criminal investigation.[40][41] The Chamber is not required to produce fundraising records.[42]

President Barack Obama and other legislators asked the IRS and Federal Elections Commission to ensure that the foreign funds that the Chamber receives are not used for political activities.[43][44] Obama criticized the Chamber for not disclosing its contributors.[45] The Chamber has responded that "No foreign money is used to fund political activities." [25] After the election, the Chamber reiterated the nature of Obama's policy dictated action from the Chamber, however the conflict would not be made "personal".[46][47]

In addition to the expenditures from the Chamber's own funds, in 2010 its political action committee gave $29,000 (89 percent) to Republican candidates and $3,500 (11 percent) to Democratic candidates.[48] The Chamber's PAC received a total of 76 donations from individual donors ($200 or more donation) totaling $79,852 in 2007-2008, or an average of $1050 per donation, and three donations per month.[49]

In 2011, the Chamber hosted a "GOP Holiday Party" honoring the Republican National Committee.[50]

Despite more than $33 million spent supporting candidates in the 2012 Congressional races, Chamber-backed candidates lost 36 out of the 50 elections in which the Chamber participated.[51]

In late 2013 the Chamber announced it would distribute campaign contributions in "10s" of Republican primary elections to oppose the Tea Party movement and create a "more governable Republican party."[52] In early 2014 Tom Donohue clarified that the push would be to elect "pro-business" members of Congress "who favor trade, energy development and immigration reform".[53]

Current Leadership[54]

  • Tom J. Donohue - President and CEO
  • Shannon DiBari - Chief Operating Officer, Senior Vice President, and Chief Administrative Officer
  • Myron Brillant - Executive Vice President and Head of International
  • Lily Fu Claffee - Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer, and General Counsel; Executive Vice President, U.S. Chamber Litigation Center
  • Suzanne Clark - Executive Vice President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • Thomas Collamore - Senior Vice President, Communications and Strategy and Counselor to the President
  • Rob Engstrom - Senior Vice President, Political Affairs & Federation Relations and National Political Director
  • Amanda Engstrom - Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff; Senior Vice President, U.S. Chamber Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness; Acting President, Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation


In April 2009, the Chamber began an ad campaign against the proposed

  • Official website
  • Real Clear Politics Portal
  • Guide to Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America. Publications. 5332. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Martin P. Catherwood Library, Cornell University.
  • Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America. Communications Development Division. Videotape collection, 1988-1992. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.

External links

  • Davis, Cory, "The Political Economy of Commercial Associations: Building the National Board of Trade, 1840-1868," Business History Review, 88 (Winter 2014), 761-83.
  • Heald, Morrell. "Business thought in the twenties: Social responsibility." American Quarterly (1961): 126-139. in JSTOR
  • Werking, Richard Hume. "Bureaucrats, businessmen, and foreign trade: the origins of the United States Chamber of Commerce." Business History Review 52#03 (1978) pp: 321-341.

Further reading

  1. ^ Gold, Matea; Geiger, Kim (8 October 2010). "Republican-leaning U.S. Chamber of Commerce buys ads supporting Democrats". Los Angeles Times. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Verini, James (1912-04-12). "Show Him the Money by James Verini (July, 2010)". Washington Monthly. Retrieved 2010-11-05. 
  3. ^ "Top lobbyists in the US". Retrieved 7.8.2009. 
  4. ^ Allen, Jonathan (2009-10-20). "U.S. Chamber: $34.7 million in lobbying". Politico. 
  5. ^ """U.S. Chamber of Commerce website, "History. Retrieved 2010-11-05. 
  6. ^ """U.S. Chamber of Commerce website, "History of the building. Retrieved 2010-11-05. 
  7. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". Retrieved 4 August 2014. 
  8. ^ American Business BSA Merit Badge Guide, 22 Jun 2015.
  9. ^ Gorman, Siobahn (21 December 2011). "Chinese Hackers Hit U.S. Chamber -".  
  10. ^ Sacks, Mike (21 June 2012). "Supreme Court: U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Undefeated This Term". Huffington Post. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  11. ^ "Making Tobacco’s Case". The New York Times. 2015-06-30. Retrieved 2015-07-03. 
  12. ^ Hakim, Danny (2015-06-30). "U.S. Chamber of Commerce Works Globally to Fight Antismoking Measures". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-07-03. 
  13. ^ "No Exclusions! Why Carveouts Would Weaken the Trans-Pacific Partnership". 2014-04-24. Retrieved 2015-07-03. 
  14. ^ [2]
  15. ^ "Cautious Optimism Follows SOPA (2011)". 
  16. ^ "Tom Donohue, U.S. Chamber of Commerce on outsourcing and offshoring (2007) Interview conducted and hosted by". Retrieved 2010-11-05. 
  17. ^ Henry, David (17 January 2005). "Death, Taxes, & Sarbanes-Oxley?". Business Week. 
  18. ^ Montopoli, Brian (26 July 2010). "Obama Slams GOP For Opposing DISCLOSE Act Meant to Expose "Shadow Groups" Behind Ads".  
  19. ^ a b Tankersley, Jim (25 August 2009). "U.S. Chamber of Commerce seeks trial on global warming".  
  20. ^ a b Gardner, Timothy (5 October 2009). "Apple, citing climate, tells U.S. Chamber iQuit".  
  21. ^ Mears, Bill (26 May 2011). "Supreme Court backs Arizona immigration law that punishes businesses".  
  22. ^ Independent Business Advocates Condemn U.S. Supreme Court's Decision in Citizens United.
  23. ^ ranking page for 2013
  24. ^ "President Barack Obama says foreign funds received by the US Chamber may be helping to fund attack ads". Politifact, St. Petersburg Times. October 11, 2010. 
  25. ^ a b c "Chamber of Commerce - The White House Wants Our Donor List". ABC News. 
  26. ^ Abdullah, Halimah (12 October 2010). "Democratic Partisans Up in Arms Against US Chamber Donations". Kansas City Star. Retrieved 26 October 2010. 
  27. ^ About AmCham China
  28. ^ Murray, Matthew (November 12, 2010). "Chamber Watch: Business Group ‘Central’ to GOP Gains".  
  29. ^ "Chamber of Commerce under fire for foreign cash". 
  30. ^ a b Waters, Clay (2010-10-22). "Lead Story Goes After Fundraising of Obama Foe, the Chamber of Commerce | Media Research Center". Retrieved 2012-04-05. 
  31. ^ Fang, Lee (2010-10-13). "Exclusive: Chamber Receives At Least $885,000 From Over 80 Foreign Companies In Disclosed Donations Alone". ThinkProgress. Retrieved 2012-04-05. 
  32. ^ "Vote 2010: Is Foreign Money Behind U.S. Chamber of Commerce Ads? - ABC News". 2010-10-11. Retrieved 2012-04-05. 
  33. ^ Eggen, Dan (8 October 2010). "Chamber and Democrats battle over the midterms and election spending". The Washington Post. 
  34. ^ "News Headlines". 2010-10-22. Retrieved 2012-04-05. 
  35. ^ Jacob Sullum (2010-10-22). "NYT Shocker: Chamber of Commerce Promotes Business Interests - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine". Retrieved 2012-04-05. 
  36. ^ "The Chamber and Foreign Contributors". Retrieved 13 December 2010. 
  37. ^ Shear, Michael D. (2010-10-12). "Chamber of Commerce Vows to ‘Ramp Up' Political Activity". The New York Times. 
  38. ^ Lipton, Eric. "Large corporate donations fund controversial US Chamber of Commerce campaign of election attack ads". Retrieved 2012-04-05. 
  39. ^ Smith, Ben (2010-10-05). "Chamber: 'We have a system' - Ben Smith". Politico.Com. Retrieved 2012-04-05. 
  40. ^ Fang, Lee (2010-10-05). "Exclusive: Foreign-Funded 'U.S.' Chamber Of Commerce Running Partisan Attack Ads". ThinkProgress. Retrieved 2012-04-05. 
  41. ^ Graves, Lucia (7 October 2010). "Watchdog Groups Rally Outside Chamber Of Commerce, As Calls For A Justice Department Investigation Mount". Huffington Post. 
  42. ^ Lipton, Eric; McIntire, Mike; NATTA Jr, DON VAN (21 October 2010). "Top Corporations Aid U.S. Chamber of Commerce Campaign". The New York Times. 
  43. ^ Shear, Michael D. (2009-10-20). "Rift between Obama and Chamber of Commerce widening". The Wall Street Journal. 
  44. ^ "Obama's Risky Fight Against the Chamber of Commerce". Time. 
  45. ^ Calmes, Jackie (2010-12-11). "Obama to Meet With Executives". New York Times. 
  46. ^ "Donohue: US Chamber won't seek Obama's defeat". Real Clear Politics. 
  47. ^ Stein, Sam (17 November 2010). "The White House, Chamber Of Commerce Attempt Rapprochement". Huffington Post. 
  48. ^ "Center for Responsive Politics, US Chamber of Commerce summary". Retrieved 2010-11-05. 
  49. ^ "Center for Responsive Politics, 31Oct 2009". Retrieved 2010-11-05. 
  50. ^ Keyes, Scott (December 8, 2011). "U.s. chamber of commerce to host rnc holiday party".  
  51. ^ "Chamber of Commerce $33 Million Lost Most Races: BGOV Barometer". Bloomberg. 
  52. ^ Needham, Vicki (September 13, 2013). "Top business groups vow more involvement in primaries".  
  53. ^ Wingfield, Brian; Bykowicz, Julie (8 January 2014). "Big Business Doubles Down on GOP Civil War With Tea Party". (Bloomberg L.P.). Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  54. ^ "Leadership U.S. Chamber of Commerce". About Us. U.S. Chamber of Commerce. March 9, 2015. Retrieved March 9, 2015. 
  55. ^ "". Retrieved 2012-04-05. 
  56. ^ "Issue Alert: CARD_CHECK". Retrieved 2010-11-05. 
  57. ^ Shear, Michael D. (16 November 2009). "Opponents of health-care effort look to fund a critical economic study". The Washington Post. Retrieved 26 May 2010. 
  58. ^ "Activist Group Puts Bounty on Chamber of Commerce CEO". Fox News. 2009-12-07. 
  59. ^ Stier, Ken (31 October 2009). "Is the Chamber of Commerce Its Own Worst Enemy?". Time. 
  60. ^ Who's holding us back? Full report Greenpeace November 23, 2011
  61. ^ "Nike US Chamber Statement" (PDF). September 30, 2009. Retrieved October 6, 2009. 
  62. ^ "U.S. Chamber of Commerce in climate rift". MSNBC. 2009-09-25. Retrieved 2012-04-05. 
  63. ^ Goldenberg, Suzanne (26 October 2009). "Toyota: We're staying in US chamber of commerce".  
  64. ^ Salvail, Andre (24 April 2012). "Aspen chamber to cut ties with national organization". The Aspen Times. Retrieved 29 December 2012. 
  65. ^ Kasperowicz, Pete. "GOP lawmaker returns award to protest Chamber of Commerce’s immigration policy". The Blaze. 
  66. ^ O'Connor, Patrick (2014-12-26). "U.S. Chamber of Commerce Pushes Priorities in Congress". The Wall Street Journal. 
  67. ^ Ho, Catherine (2014-01-08). "U.S. Chamber to ‘pull out all stops’ to pass immigration reform". Washington Post. Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  68. ^ "Granting Corporations Bill of Rights Protections Is Not "Pro-business". AMIBA. Retrieved 2015-06-30. 
  69. ^ Saladoff, S. (Director). (2011). Hot Coffee [Motion picture]. Docurama Films


See also

Affiliate organizations

Several organization have attacked the Chamber for its advocacy, including Chamber Watch (a campaign of Public Citizen). Advocates for independent business, like the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) and "green businesses," like the American Sustainable Business Council, have fought the Chamber on multiple issues. Among major divisions between the Chamber and these business advocates is allowing corporations to engage in electioneering.[68] Oliver E. Diaz says one example of this was when the Chamber spent $1,000,000+ to elect judicial candidate Keith Starrett and fund negative campaign ads against judicial candidate Oliver E. Diaz. [69]

Opposition to Chamber

The Chamber of Commerce has also come under attack by conservatives and others for its support of amnesty for illegal immigrants.[65][66] In 2014, Tom Donohue stated the Chamber will "pull out all stops" for the passage of immigration reform in Congress.[67] According to the Washington Post, Donohue did not offer specifics with regard to provisions or bills on the matter, speaking generally about the impact immigration would have on the U.S. economy.

Immigration Reform

The Chamber threatened to sue the Toyota stated that it would not leave the Chamber.[63] The Aspen Chamber Resort Association of Aspen, Colorado left the U.S. Chamber because of its views on climate change, in light of how climate change could hurt Aspen's winter tourism industry.[64]

The climate campaign organisation estimates that 94% of US Chamber of Commerce electoral contributions went to candidates denying the scientific consensus on climate change.[60]

Climate Change

Some in the business community have criticized the Chamber's approach to public issues as overly aggressive. Hilary Rosen, former CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America added, "Their aggressive ways are out of step with a new generation of business leadership who are looking for more cooperative relationship with Washington."[59]

In December 2009, activist group Velvet Revolution, under the name StopTheChamber, posted a $200,000 reward for "information leading to the arrest and conviction of Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donahue."[58]

In November 2009, the Chamber was reported to be seeking to spend $50,000 to hire a "respected economist" to produce a study that could be used to portray health-care legislation as a job killer and threat to the nation's economy.[57]

[56] In a front-page article titled "Large Donations Aid U.S. Chamber in Election Drive", [32][31][30][29] The Chamber's spending out of its general funds was criticized as illegal under campaign finance laws.[28] During the 2010 campaign cycle, the Chamber spent $32 million, 93 percent of which was to help Republican candidates.

In the 2008 election cycle, aggressive ads paid for by the USCC attacked a number of Democratic congressional candidates (such as Minnesota's DFL Senate candidate Al Franken) and supported a number of Republican candidates including John Sununu, Gordon Smith, Roger Wicker, Saxby Chambliss and Elizabeth Dole.

Electoral activities

AmCham China, with members comprise more than 2,600 individuals from over 1,200 companies,[27] is said to be the largest affiliate outside of United States.

As of October 2010, the Chamber had a worldwide network of 115 American Chamber of Commerce affiliates located in 108 countries.[24] The US Chamber says that a relative handful of the Chamber's 300,000 members are "non-U.S.-based (foreign) companies." It claims that, "No foreign money is used to fund political activities." A US Chamber executive has said that the organization has had "foreign multinationals" (foreign companies) as members for "over a century, many for decades."[25] The US Chamber states that it receives approximately $100,000 annually in membership dues from its foreign affiliates, out of an annual budget of $200 million.[25][26]

International network

US Chamber Lobbying 2002-2013[23]
Year US Cham. Rank US Cham. Spending Next Highest Spender Next Highest Amount
2013 1 $74,470,000 National Assn of Realtors $38,584,580
2012 1 $136,300,000 National Assn of Realtors $41,464,580
2011 1 $66,370,000 General Electric $26,340,000
2010 1 $157,187,500 PG&E Corp $45,510,000
2009 1 $144,606,000 Exxon Mobil $27,430,000
2008 1 $91,955,000 Exxon Mobil $29,000,000
2007 1 $53,082,500 Pharmaceutical Rsrch & Mfrs of America $22,733,400
2006 1 $72,995,000 AT&T Inc $27,445,497
2005 1 $39,805,000 AARP $36,302,064
2004 1 $53,380,000 American Medical Assn $18,820,000
2003 1 $34,602,640 AARP $20,880,000
2002 1 $41,560,000 Philip Morris $15,200,000

The Chamber has emerged as the largest National Assn of Realtors, at $38.5 million.

Lobbying expenditures

  • Argued against mandatory immigration status checks by employers in Arizona including in a Supreme Court case.[21]
  • Filed an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in Citizens United v FEC. Its position is opposed by some advocates for independent businesses.[22]

Court Cases


Positions taken

Since a 1971 internal memo by Lewis Powell advocating a more active role in cases before United States Supreme Court, the Chamber has found increasing success in litigation. Under the Burger and Rehnquist Courts the Chamber was on the prevailing side 43% and 56% of the time, respectively, but under the Roberts Court, the Chamber's success rate rose to 68% as of 21 June 2012.[10]

In late 2011 it was revealed that the Chamber's computer system was breached from November 2009 to May 2010 by Chinese hackers. The purpose of the breach appeared to be gain information related to the Chamber's lobbying regarding Asian trade policy.[9]

Although all chambers can work with all levels of government, they tend to concentrate their efforts on specific levels: Local chambers of commerce tend to focus on local issues, state chambers on state issues, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce focuses on national issues at the federal government level.[7] They also work closely with a number of other youth organizations in the country about the value and role of business in our society today. [8]

United States Chamber of Commerce building at 1615 H Street, NW, in Washington, D.C. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

[6].Daniel Webster The Washington, D.C., headquarters of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce occupies land that was formerly the home of [2] In 1993, the Chamber lost several members over its support for

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's own history of itself describes it as originating from an April 22, 1912, meeting of delegates.[5] The Chamber was created by President Taft as a counterbalance to the labor movement of the time.[2]



  • History 1
  • Positions taken 2
    • Legislation 2.1
    • Court Cases 2.2
  • Lobbying expenditures 3
  • International network 4
  • Electoral activities 5
  • Current Leadership 6
  • Controversies 7
    • Climate Change 7.1
    • Immigration Reform 7.2
  • Opposition to Chamber 8
  • Affiliate organizations 9
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • Further reading 12
  • External links 13


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