Sixty-nine lobbyists collectively raised more than $17.3 million for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's campaign during the 2012 election cycle, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of Federal Election Commission records, including new reports filed tonight. Tonight's newly filed documents reveal the names of five individuals who have not previously been reported to the FEC as bundlers, including: Adam W. Salerno of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who raised $17,530.[The Center for Public Integrity]
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence was dealt the first legislative loss since taking office earlier this month on Thursday. It came when state Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, gave up his efforts to push a “loser pays” tort reform bill that was part of the Republican’s first-year legislative agenda…. The bill would have required the losing side in all civil litigation to pay the winner’s attorney fees and other costs — an idea championed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, but that Indiana-based business groups have not sought. [Courier Press]
Many Fortune 500 companies support the creation of federal cybersecurity standards to protect them from Internet threats like hacking as long as they are voluntary, according to a Senate survey of top U.S. chief executives released on Wednesday…. Wednesday's report sought to highlight some discord between the chamber's position and the generally positive comments from Fortune 500 companies about closer collaboration with the federal government and the need to update the current system, which has been criticized as ad hoc. The chamber's Ann Beauchesne, vice president of national security and emergency preparedness, reiterated the lobby's concern on Wednesday. "Voluntary standards sound great in theory, but the devil is in the details," she said. "Whether a new cybersecurity program is labeled regulatory or 'voluntary,' the fact is, government officials will have the final word on the standards and practices that industry must adopt, which the Chamber opposes." (Reuters)
The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform voiced concern Tuesday about the European Union's approach to group litigation under its draft data protection regulation, saying certain proposals would incentivize law firms and other profit-driven third parties to promote mass litigation and fail to protect against legal abuse. [Law 360]
The proposed regulations, amending ones issued in 2006 under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, would increase the maximum reward to 30% of the cost of coverage from the current maximum level of 20%. It would increase the maximum even further—to 50%—for those programs designed to reduce tobacco use….Meanwhile, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said the proposed rule could undermine the success of wellness programs by requiring individual accommodation.“Wellness programs should not be required to coddle apathetic participants,” Randel Johnson, the Chamber's senior vice president of labor, immigration and employee benefits (PDF), wrote in the organization's letter to the departments, “and the proposed rules' pursuit of an 'everybody wins' approach will thwart the very motivation that a rewards based program is designed to create.” [ModernHealthcare]
Republicans and business lobbyists like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce wail that no tax should be exacted from the “fragile market,” but they’re eager to impose devastating cuts to the fragile household finances of elderly and infirm Americans. [In These Times]
Fresh from its US Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) final vote in August, 2012, The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 now faces its first legal test in US Appellate Court. Filing documents by the US Chamber of Commerce (USCOC), the Business Roundtable (BRT), and National Association of Manufacturing (NAM) regarding its provisions around Section 1502 list several complaints and legal challenges.These challenges were first posed in October, 2012 with initial filing documents and followed earlier this month with a full preliminary brief filed to the court outlining the multi-party complaint.[Sustainable Business Forum]
The announcement late Sunday night that a bipartisan group of eight senators have agreed upon a framework for immigration reform sparked reactions that ranged from excitement to downright hostility. U.S. Chamber of Commerce. U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue issued a statement in favor of the plan. [ABC News]
The Chamber’s Donohue said the group is poised expand its law firm, the National Chamber Litigation Center, to fight onerous federal rules. “Our preference is always to work within the legislative and regulatory processes and we do that on a daily basis. But when rights have been trampled on, or regulators have overstepped their bounds, we’ll take the necessary legal action.” [The Hill]
A federal appeals court ruled on Friday that President Barack Obama violated the U.S. Constitution when he used recess appointments to fill a labor board, in a sweeping decision that could limit presidential power to push through federal nominees…. The suit started as a routine dispute between soda bottling company Noel Canning and the labor board, but developed into a high-profile appeal with the help of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Senate Republicans. The case was seen as a test of the president's ability to bypass a Senate vote on nominees. [Reuters]
A leading U.S. business group urged President Barack Obama on Thursday to build on trade successes of the past two years by seeking legislation that would allow him to submit trade deals to Congress for straight up-or-down votes without amendments. "I think the message to the president and the administration is: It's time to engage the business community and Congress in discussions about Trade Promotion Authority," Myron Brilliant, senior vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, told reporters at a briefing on the group's 2013 trade priorities. Congress last passed a Trade Promotion Authority, or TPA, bill in 2002 and that was after a bitter fight in the U.S. House of Representatives. Only 25 of approximately 210 House Democrats joined Republicans in voting for the legislation, reflecting the strong opposition of the AFL-CIO labor federation and others on the left who associate trade agreements with job losses.[Reuters]
Lobbying expenditures for large pro-business lobbying groups soared in the last quarter of 2012, driven by election-year politics, the lame-duck congressional session's increased legislation, and the fiscal cliff showdown, according to newly released data analyzed by the Center for Public Integrity. Leading the pack in annual spending was the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation's largest pro-business advocacy group. In 2012, the chamber's lobbying spending topped $125 million, an 88 percent increase from the previous year. The lobbying figure doesn't include more than $36 million the group spent influencing the 2012 elections ($28 million of which funded attack ads against Democrats). [Huffington Post]
The results from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Q4 Small Business Outlook Survey show that there remains a significant amount of concern among the small business community about the U.S. economy and overall small business climate. [Forbes]
Out of concern for attacks on U.S. companies, Congress last year wrestled with legislation that would have allowed the NSA to share its sophisticated cybersecurity tools with the corporate sector. But the legislation was opposed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which warned of heavy-handed government regulation and bureaucracy, and it died. Now, just months later, who’s knocking on the government’s door, demanding help? According to news reports, the attacks have stricken Bank of America, PNC Bank, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, HSBC and SunTrust. Perhaps they should tell the Chamber of Commerce a little about the experience. The business lobby’s approach to cybersecurity legislation was myopic last year. The chamber should face the reality that corporate America is seriously vulnerable to attack. [Washington Post]
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent more than $135 million on lobbying in 2012, more than doubling its influence spending from the prior year. The powerful business lobby spent $29.5 million on lobbying for 2012’s fourth quarter, according to lobbying disclosure records. The group’s legal affiliate, the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, spent $10.9 million on lobbying during the same quarter. [The Hill]
Far from being embarrassed by the assault on judicial impartiality, no less an institution than the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is leading the charge along with other business funded groups….A Chamber collaborator is slightly less nuanced: it calls these courts "judicial hellholes," a term it has copyrighted. Then the groups help organize the political campaigns against the judges, replacing them with candidates who will rule in favor of big-business. An estimated $30 million was spent on TV ads alone in 2012 judicial elections. Once judges get sucked into the machinery of electoral campaigns, Americans will doubt their impartiality. [Huffington Post]
Another key moment in the debt ceiling fight: On MSNBC this morning, the head of the powerful U.S. Chamber of Commerce called on Republicans to stop using the threat of default to get the spending cuts they want. Chamber president Tom Donohue didn’t do this quite as directly as he might have, but the plain meaning was clear. This is significant, because in doing this, he went further than other business leaders, who have merely issued a general call for a hike in the debt ceiling without pointing a finger at Republican debt ceiling hostage taking. Donohue, by contrast, said he wants to see a stop to the tactic of using the debt ceiling as leverage.[Huffington Post]
Traditional pillars of the Republican base, such as police groups, evangelical pastors and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have begun to push skeptical GOP lawmakers to change federal immigration laws to allow most of the nation's 11 million illegal immigrants to apply for legal status. In coming months, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will try to convince local chapters that businesses will benefit from laws that make it easier for non-Americans to obtain work visas and allow illegal immigrants to apply for permanent legal status, said Randel Johnson, a senior vice president for the group.[Los Angeles Times] More...
The U.S. government is continuing to lobby Brussels to water down plans to reform privacy legislation…Last October TechWeekEurope reported that the US Chamber of Commerce was lobbying European politicians to alter the proposed new rules on behalf of the U.S. government.Adam Schlosser, senior manager for global regulatory cooperation at the Chamber of Commerce, told the publication it had been engaged in lobbying since March, with a taskforce of around 50 staff engaged on the issue. [Tech Crunch]
Dow Chemical is leaving the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) because of a disagreement on liquefied natural gas (LNG) export policy. The move underscores tension between a bloc of powerful business lobby groups and some manufacturers on the export issue. Dow, along with a handful of other manufacturers, launched a coalition last week that urged the White House to limit LNG exports. That initiative cleaved an alliance of groups pushing for an expansion of LNG exports. Those groups, which include NAM, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Petroleum Institute, say the net economic benefits of exporting LNG would outweigh any price jumps.[The Hill] More...
How can you tell that momentum is building for change?
Well, one good sign is that the opposition starts getting nervous about your progress.
That’s why we took it as a positive sign that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently stepped up attacks on shareholders who attempt to make companies disclose political spending.
Earlier this month, I attended an almost comical presentation at the U.S. Chamber headquarters where speakers spent most of a four hour event attacking political spending disclosure resolutions as being bad for business.
I say ‘almost’ comical because, while much of the information is laughably wrong, the subject matter is far too important to joke about.
There are a number of things wrong with what I heard at this event, but I’d like to focus on two disturbing claims in particular.
The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy recently released a report that confirmed a fact many small business groups already know to be true: small businesses are leading the nation’s economic recovery. Green For All is one of the groups that has seen this first-hand. We have worked for years to support small green businesses with the skills and resources needed to create new jobs while improving our environment. We know from experience that small businesses are America’s principal drivers on the road to economic recovery. It is these businesses that are, time and time again, the most capable at fostering local community resilience in times of economic hardship.
Today, the U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce ( http://www.uswcc.org ) calls on congressional leaders to reject the Ryan Budget as wrong for the future of America, and pledges to take the case to protect the economic future of women to every community.