Coverage Round-Up: Debunking the Chamber's State of American Business Address

This week, U.S. Chamber Watch and its allies were busy debunking the U.S. Chamber’s State of American Business Address.  We wanted to ensure that the business community, important stakeholders and the public understood that despite what Chamber President Tom Donohue had to say, the Chamber’s commitment to “job creation” in 2011 has included: slashing important regulatory protections for workers and everyday Americans; thwarting a bi-partisan jobs bill because it would raise taxes on millionaires; and pushing hard to initiate dangerous energy projects while dismantling the Environmental Protection Agency. 

At the end of his speech, Donohue reminded us that the Chamber plans to spend 2012 “…with the most aggressive grassroots mobilization and voter education program in our history.”  That's why it's even more important that we keep shining a light on the Chamber's funding and operations-- including its history of misleading with false, partisan ads and unsubstantiated studies, and its claims to be a "champion" of small business while instead championing its Big Business cronies.

Listen in at 5pm EST to the Rick Smith Show as U.S. Chamber Watch Spokeswoman Christy Setzer continues the conversation.

A coverage round-up:  

“Pre-Emptive Strike”
Politico’s Morning Energy – January 11, 2012
http://www.politico.com/morningenergy/0112/morningenergy410.html
“Public Citizen, the National Wildlife Federation, U.S. Chamber Watch and Patriotic Millionaires will look to get a jump on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce this morning in a press call deriding the organization’s anti-regulations jobs agenda.”

“Chamber Opponents Prebut Donohue Address”
National Journal – January 11, 2012
http://influencealley.nationaljournal.com/2012/01/chamber-opponents-issue-prebut.php
The entire article was dedicated to coverage of our press call, and uses several quotes from press call participants, including: “’Nothing that's being suggested in the Chamber's proposals ... will create jobs,’ said Hindery, who is also a managing partner at the private equity fund InterMedia Partners.”

 “Chamber Boosts Campaign Focus While Urging Congress Not To”
Roll Call – January 12, 2012
http://www.rollcall.com/news/chamber_boosts_campaign_focus_while_urging_congress_not_to-211462-1.html?pos=htmbtxt
“Chamber critics, including Public Citizen, Chamber Watch and other liberal groups, held a conference call on the eve of Donohue’s address to berate the organization for advancing the interests of a few powerful corporations instead of what the Occupy Wall Street movement has dubbed ‘the 99 percent.’”

“Chamber Lays Out Plan to Boost Economy, Create Jobs; Urges Congress to Approve”
BNA – January 12, 2012
http://news.bna.com/dlln/DLLNWB/split_display.adp?fedfid=24279998&vname=dlrnotallissues&fn=24279998&jd=a0d0h6a1f1&split=0
“As for Chamber Watch, communications advisor Christy Setzer said the chamber claims to be the “voice of American business,” representing some 3 million American businesses. But she called that a fiction, and said the organization represents only a handful of wealthy corporations that fund its lobbying budget.... Setzer said job creation is not the chamber's main priority as evidenced in 2011 when it lobbied to ‘gut anti-bribery rules, kill anti-pollution rules that would protect children from getting asthma, and supported [House Speaker] John Boehner's [R-Ohio] debt ceiling package,’ which she blamed for a U.S. credit downgrade and a near default on the national debt.”

Nightly Business Report - Transcript
PBS – January 12, 2012
http://www.nbr.com/transcripts/full-episode-transcript-thursday-january-12-2012-20120112
“CHRISTY SETZER, COMMUNICATIONS ADVISOR, U.S. CHAMBER WATCH: ’The fact that people don’t have money in their pockets right now, that’s a big problem. Yes. But it’s not the regulations that are hurting jobs.’’”

“U.S. Chamber’s Donohue Sees 2012 Growth of Less Than 3%”
Bloomberg BusinessWeek – January 12, 2012
http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-01-12/u-s-chamber-s-donohue-sees-2012-growth-of-less-than-3-.html
“Leo Hindery, managing partner at the private equity investment fund InterMedia Partners LP, said on a conference call that the Chamber largely represents the interests of about 20 of the nation’s largest multinational corporations…. The tax policies advocated by the Chamber ‘will not incent the creation of jobs,’ Hindery said on the call, organized by the group. ‘It will simply enrich these larger American multinational corporations.’”

“Chamber’s ‘Jobs’ Agenda Ignores the 99%”
AFL-CIO NOW Blog – January 12, 2012
http://blog.aflcio.org/2012/01/12/chambers-jobs-agenda-ignores-the-99/
“U.S. Chamber Watch’s Christy Setzer says: ‘The greatest myth about the U.S. Chamber is that they have an interest in creating or protecting jobs. One glance at their so-called jobs agenda confirms as much: rolling back needed regulations and putting more money in the pockets of millionaires and corporate CEOs won’t create jobs, but it will help out the wealthy few who fund the Chamber’s lobbying budget.’”

“Not Everybody's Happy With the Chamber”
Politico Influence – January 13, 2012
http://www.politico.com/politicoinfluence/ 
“U.S. Chamber Watch, a group opposing the trade association, held a conference call this week - before Chamber head Tom Donohue gave his annual address. Donohue told reporters the Chamber will spend more on the 2012 cycle than it did in the 2010 midterms. (Point of fact, the Chamber spent more than $43 million political advertising.) POLITICO's Josh Boak reports back that Chamber Watch's Christie Setzer described the Chamber's role in the midterm election as 'almost a venture capitalist role.' She added: "They would go in, spend money in states and sort of lay the groundwork.'”

Just In

Whose opportunity does U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue talk about when he talks about opportunity?

The Chamber’s policies might give the largest corporations the opportunity to grow, but that is often not the same thing as growth and opportunity for the American people. After-tax corporate profits in the third quarter topped 11 percent of GDP for the first time since the records started in 1947. But everyday Americans aren’t doing so well, with real median household income declining 4.4 percent since 2009.

When the Chamber opposes increasing minimum wages to coincide with growth in productivity and the economy overall, one must ask whose growth and opportunity the Chamber is pushing for.