In Virginia’s fifth Congressional district, Democratic incumbent Tom Perriello has faced an onslaught of attack ads funded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. One such ad implored voters: “Government run health care. Medicare cuts. Have you had enough? Tell Congressman Perriello, stop hurting Virginia families.” As ThinkProgress reported, it’s possible that the Chamber’s attack ads are being funded by foreign money; the Chamber has yet to disclose who, exactly, funds its attack ads.
The Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce is located in Perriello’s district, and pays dues to the U.S. Chamber, though it is an otherwise separate and independent operation. When contacted by a local news outlet, the Regional Chamber’s President, Tim Hulbert made it clear that his group does not engage in such political activities:
The Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce has no part in that. It’s Hulbert who says politics is not in the group’s DNA, and while it shares the same last name with the national organization, they are separate and independent of one another.
“Our chamber has never been involved in any kind of partisan political activity at least for 30 years and I wouldn’t be surprised for our entire 97 years of existence,” said Hulbert.
In an interview with ThinkProgress, Hulbert declined to endorse both the U.S. Chamber’s ad campaign and the content of the ads. “It’s First Amendment. We all get to engage in the political process in whatever fashion we choose, and that’s the fashion they choose,” he said. As to whether he thought the ad’s content was fair, Hulbert said, “What I think is not relevant.”