U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Board Is Not ‘As Diverse As The Nation’s Business Community Itself’

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reflects neither the politics nor the priorities of the business community of the United States. The Chamber is spending hundreds of millions of dollars from its corporate members against President Barack Obama’s progressive agenda of health care, clean energy, and financial reform. The “principal governing and policymaking body” of the Chamber is its 116-member board of directors, purportedly with a “membership is as diverse as the nation’s business community itself”:

The Board of Directors is the principal governing and policymaking body of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The board’s membership is as diverse as the nation’s business community itself, with more than 100 corporate and small business leaders serving from all sectors and sizes of business, and from all regions of the country.

In fact, a Wonk Room analysis has found that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce board is overwhelmingly Republican, having contributed six to one to conservative over liberal politicians.

The nation’s business community, however, is a bipartisan participant in American politics, contributing about equally to both parties over the last ten years. The Wonk Room has found that from 1999 to 2007, corporate contributions broke 53% to 47% in favor of Republicans. After the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and other Democrats massively outraised that of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and other Republicans, the split from 1999 to 2009 stands 52% to 48% in favor of Democrats:

US v Chamber contributions
Source: Center for American Progress Action Fund, from Federal Election Commission data compiled by the OpenSecrets project of the Center for Responsive Politics.

The Chamber — when not lying about the effects of climate or health care reform — has grossly inflated the numbers of its members. It also seems it’s misrepresenting the nature of the few members who make its misguided policy decisions.

Methodology: Contribution data from of the top 50 industries to Congress from the 1999-2000 to the 2009-2010 cycle were compiled. Donations from unions, candidate committees, civil servants, ideological and issue groups, education, and retirees were excluded.