On Friday, two dozen protesters gathered outside of an event for the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association, where U.S. Chamber of Commerce president Tom Donohue gave a lunchtime presentation about the economy. As ThinkProgress first reported in April of 2010, the U.S. Chamber operated as a front group for banks like J.P. Morgan and Bank of America to kill Wall Street reform. The local CBS affiliate in St. Louis noted that, while Donohue gave a speech demanding more deregulation of the economy, the protesters outside called for better government oversight of Wall Street. Asked by a reporter at the event what he thought of the protesters, Donohue mocked their intelligence:
When a reporter informed U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Donohue that protestors were planning to demonstrate against his visit to St. Louis, he questioned their intelligence. “Do you think they even know what a derivative is?” Donohue said.
Asked about the massive protests against Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), Donohue said that public servants have “over bloated” compensation:
Donohue turned truculent when asked whether events in Wisconsin are weakening unions and the right of workers to collective bargaining. [….] He went on to express his concerns that public sector pensions are “out of control” and that public workers compensation is “over bloated.”
Speaking of “over bloated” compensation, Donohue “travels in a chauffeured Lincoln and a leased jet, and his salary, $3.7 million last year, makes him the sixth highest paid lobbyist in the country.”
Donohue apparently has no problem taking cheap shots at people who have dedicated themselves to public service, but what does he do to deserve so much money? As we’ve reported, Donohue runs nothing more than a shell organization to help big corporations pursue nasty lobbying campaigns under the brand of the “U.S. Chamber of Commerce,” a group misleadingly associated with local chambers of commerce. For instance, the health insurance industry secretly funneled $86 million to the Chamber in 2009 to try to kill health reform. Similarly, oil companies, chemical firms, and defense industry corporations have used to the Chamber to run ads or lobby against regulations.