U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND THE GOP, SITTIN’ IN A TREE…. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is spending tens of millions of dollars to buy midterm elections for far-right Republican candidates. As if that weren’t enough, the business lobby is using undisclosed contributions. And as if that weren’t enough, some of the financing for these ads may have come from foreign corporations and foreign governments.

But just to add insult to injury, the Chamber’s pro-GOP ads also happen to mislead the public. Greg Sargent had this report today on the Chamber’s ads targeting House Democrats:

These Chamber ads, which are running or have run in multiple districts across the country, contain many claims that are demonstrable distortions or have been repeatedly debunked as false by independent fact-checkers.

This is the side of this story that continues to unfold under the media radar. Much of the media focus has been on the high-profile Beltway spat between these groups and the White House and Dems over their undisclosed donors. But the ads themselves are not receiving anywhere near the high-profile media scrutiny that Dem claims about the Chamber have — even though they constitute a massive national campaign flooding airwaves in multiple races that could tip the balance of power in Congress.

Greg’s analysis is worth checking out in full, because the demonstrably-false claims featured in the Chamber’s ads — including some arguments that were debunked months ago — are the same claims that may very well mislead voters and sway election outcomes.

What’s also interesting, though, was the Chamber’s response to the fact-checking. The business lobby put together a fairly detailed rebuttal, which Greg also posted.

But as rebuttals go, the Chamber of Commerce’s retort seems to create as many problems as it resolves. Not only does it rehash tired and misguided Republican talking points, but it relies heavily on a report commissioned by House Republicans.

In other words, the Chamber (a) is airing misleading attack ads in order to help Republicans; and (b) relying on Republicans to defend themselves against evidence that the attacks are misleading.

The Chamber is effectively arguing, “See? The ads we’re airing on behalf of Republicans are accurate — because Republicans say so.”

The thinly-veiled pretense of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce being “independent” and “non-partisan” has all but disappeared.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.