New York Examines the Chamber’s Inner Closets

We learn today from Washington Monthly alumnus Nicholas Confessore that the Attorney General of New York, Eric Schneiderman, has transcended the paralysis afflicting the Federal Election Commission to launch a probe into the seriously aromatic financing of lobbying and electioneering activities by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

You can read the whole thing, but it’s basically about apparent shifts of very large sums of money among two foundations and the Chamber, designed to disguise the donors for and protect the tax status of an array of high-profile Chamber political activities.

Confessore’s examination merits a fresh reading of James Virini’s 2010 profile for the Washington Monthly of Tom Donahue’s increasingly partisan political agenda for the Chamber, and its promiscuous big-money funding.

In my own recent meditation on the Chamber’s devolution into exceptional partisan skullduggery, I deplored the national organization’s financial and psychological reliance on many hundreds of local chamber-of-commerce folk of good will who probably don’t support or even know much about the Big Boys’ agenda. Totally aside from what Schneiderman discovers about the legal status of the U.S. Chamber’s money-shuffling, exposing it for the benefit of small business folk around the country could be importantly illuminating.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.