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The Board Of The ‘Voice Of Business’ Is A Republican Money Machine

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"The Board Of The ‘Voice Of Business’ Is A Republican Money Machine"

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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which purports to be “the voice of business,” is run by a Republican money machine. As the nation’s largest lobbying shop, the Chamber is spending millions of dollars from its corporate members against President Obama’s progressive agenda of health care, energy, and financial reform. The Chamber claims that the “board’s membership is as diverse as the nation’s business community itself,” but this is false. A Wonk Room analysis of federal election contribution data compiled by the LittleSis project has found that the Chamber’s 116-member board of directors has given more than six times as much money to Republican candidates and committees ($4,741,747) as it has to Democrats ($778,282), with $1,074,697 flowing to corporate political action committees:


CoC Board Members Contributions
Source: Center for American Progress Action Fund, from Federal Election Commission data compiled by the LittleSis project of the Public Accountability Initiative.

The top beneficiary of this outpouring of conservative cash is the Republican National Committee, which has received over ten times as much money from the Chamber’s board as the Democratic National Committee — $1,257,201 versus $102,950. Contributions went 4.5 to 1 for John McCain ($373,150) versus Barack Obama ($82,150).


Top CoC board recipients
Source: Center for American Progress Action Fund, from Federal Election Commission data compiled by the LittleSis project of the Public Accountability Initiative.

Of the board’s 116 members, 96 have made major political contributions. Sixty-eight directly contributed to the campaigns of George W. Bush or John McCain. In contrast, only 27 gave to the campaigns of Al Gore, John Kerry, or Barack Obama. Forty-seven board members, including Chamber of Commerce president Tom Donohue, have contributed more than 90 percent to Republicans, averaging $74,634 in GOP contributions. Only seven members have contributed more than 90 percent to Democrats, averaging $3,529 to Democrats.

The political giving is dominated by leading Republican billionaire George Argyros, the Bush pioneer who served a disastrous term as the U.S. ambassador to Spain. Argyros is also one of the top backers of Newt Gingrich’s right-wing American Solutions for Winning the Future. The following visualization of Chamber of Commerce board member contributions is a sea of red surrounding a few small islands of blue. The size of each box is proportional to amount of total contributions per person, with the shading indicating percentage of Republican versus Democratic contributions:


The Chamber’s Board: A Right-Wing Money Machine

Mapping Chamber board contributions
Source: Center for American Progress Action Fund, from Federal Election Commission data compiled by the LittleSis project of the Public Accountability Initiative.

Cross-posted at ThinkProgress.

Update

At LittleSis, Kevin Connor explores the connections between the contributors.

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