The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Chamber of Commerce

Though it might sound like a harmless group of suits sitting in uncomfortable chairs advocating for small businesses, it turns out the United States Chamber of Commerce is actually one of the more insidious lobbying groups in America, according to a recent story at Racked.

Responsible for $104 million in lobbying efforts in 2016 alone — “more than any other industry by a whopping margin” — and called “the premier voice for corporate power” by Dan Dudis, director of Chamber Watch at Public Citizen, the Chamber primarily represents the interests of giant corporations.

And they haven’t found a terrible cause they won’t champion. According to the story, they deny climate change is happening, fight against equal pay, and want to loosen marketing restrictions on tobacco products. They’ve also been aggressively “supporting and funding the agenda and policy of the GOP.”

“The US Chamber of Commerce puts money behind both lobbying efforts and elections, and in the 2010 midterm elections — oft cited as the beginning of the end of democratic power in Washington — 94 percent of the Chamber’s political donations went to climate-change-denying candidates.”

While “100-plus companies have left the Chamber, citing its position on climate,” companies like Gap, Target, and Disney continue to fund it. On the upside, however, the changing demands of those companies’ stock holders could ultimately lead to a change in the CoC’s ways.

“Investors have pressured businesses to source more renewable energy and to find ways to be more energy efficient.” The article notes. And as the executive director of the Sustainable Investments Institute, Heidi Welsh, explains: “The question for business in regard to sustainability is not a touchy-feeling one. It’s a business one. From an investment perspective, it’s about saving money and then being around for the long term.”

You can read more about it at Racked.

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