The Biggest Loser: Incredible, shrinking Chamber of Commerce goes from 3 million members to just 300,000 in one day!

The exodus of leading companies from the Chamber has been downsizing the denial-pushing industry group (which most certainly does not speak for the business community).  But Think Progress has the story (first posted here) of rapid weight loss that easily beats any of the winners of the reality show, “The Biggest Loser.”

As Mother Jones reported yesterday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce consistently says that its membership is 3 million, even though it’s actually closer to 200,000. The reason for the artificial inflation is that the organization is counting the memberships of 2,800 state and local chambers around the country, even though many of these businesses have no relationship with the national organization. Some of these members are now protesting the Chamber’s numbers game:

“They don’t represent me,” says Mark Jaffe, CEO of the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce, which is a dues-paying member of the national group. “¦ Jaffe also scoffed at the US Chamber’s oft-repeated claim to “represent 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions.” “¦ “They are playing games” with their numbers, Jaffe said. “They don’t have half the businesses in America as registered, dues-paying members.”

– Jaffe’s objections to the US Chamber’s policies were echoed by Rob Black, vice-president of public policy for the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. “We take a fundamentally different approach than the US Chamber,” he said, adding that while the national Chamber opposes the Waxman-Markey climate bill, “we support a market-driven cap-and-trade system.”

A day after this public scrutiny began, the Chamber is quietly backing down. At a press conference this morning, Chamber officials “repeatedly cited a membership of 300,000. That’s a tenth as many members as the Chamber claimed a day earlier.”

This post is part of Blog Action Day.

Shrinking Chamber

6 Responses to The Biggest Loser: Incredible, shrinking Chamber of Commerce goes from 3 million members to just 300,000 in one day!

  1. Canada Guy says:

    Awesome, just awesome. Maybe all the members leaving can make their own group and this one will just eventually die.

  2. Leif says:

    Mother Jones article web link lists major news sources that have reported the 3 million number in the past. NY Times as recently as Sept 29 and 6 other times in the past. Is your favorite news source listed? If so, complain…

  3. stoops says:

    another example of how GW denial is cancer to business.

  4. Anna Haynes says:

    Even the dues-paying members likely don’t agree with how they’re being “represented”; it’s like joining AAA for the emergency roadside service.
    (which I’m guessing 99.9% of the AAA members did; it’s a clever scam, to then lobby “on behalf of them” for auto stuff)

  5. Stephan says:

    Incredible. That is an amazing change of mind for many companies. I don’t think that I want to see the board from the chamber any time soon. I can imagine that they aren’t the happiest people at the moment.

    For more positive info on the environment, have a look at this Green News.

  6. Great. It’s about damn time for serious news organizations to start looking into that number, instead of just relaying the Chamber’s PR hyperbole. It was time already, before they first printed it.