Fast and Loose at the Chamber of Commerce

FAST AND LOOSE AT THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE…. No lobbying organization in America is more crucial to the GOP’s hopes for victory this fall than the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The business-backed behemoth plans to funnel $50 million — more than twice the cash holdings of the RNC and RCCC combined — into key House and Senate races, the vast majority of which will benefit Republicans.

But do the torrents of cash the Chamber raises to help the GOP also help American business? That’s a whole other question, says James Verini in his revealing profile of the Chamber and its voluble president, Tom Donohue, a man whose office includes a sign that reads, “Show Me the Money.”

Verini sheds light on an executive who spends money almost as fast as he raises it — if not faster — and whose extreme opposition to regulations has led companies like Apple Inc. to drop their membership in the organization. The Chamber of Commerce, by Donohue’s admission, turns out to be a front group of sorts, one that involves itself in lobbying for the least-defensible industry practices without leaving industry fingerprints on the effort. Verini also reveals a fragile organization with financial red flags and rebellious regional chambers of commerce that are taking steps to distance themselves from Donohue’s national chamber.

Read Verini’s profile, “Show Him the Money” in the July/August issue of the Washington Monthly.