The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the right-wing lobbying giant, is celebrating its power to “influence” the race between Democrat Martha Coakley and Republican Scott Brown to fill the seat of the late Massachusetts senator Ted Kennedy. In a blog post, the Chamber promoted the television ads it ran to portray Scott Brown as a friend of business for supporting the continuation and extension of Bush-era tax cuts. However, the Chamber also discussed its real priority of killing health care reform, saying Brown’s election would “allow Republicans to block legislation, including health care reform opposed by the Chamber.” This barrage of conservative corporate cash is the beginning of a $100-million-dollar campaign to block reform:
The Chamber’s efforts in support of Brown’s Senate bid is a preview of what will be a massive effort to support pro-business candidates in November’s congressional midterm elections. In his annual State of American Business speech on January 12, Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue promised the “largest, most aggressive voter education and issue advocacy effort in our nearly hundred-year history.”
“A Brown win in today’s special election,” the Chamber says, “could pay immediate dividends by throwing into question the future of health care reform legislation pending in Congress.” A large part of Chamber’s efforts have been underwritten by nation’s biggest health insurers, which were “quietly pumping big money into third-party television ads aimed at killing or significantly modifying the major health reform bills moving through Congress.” The funds were solicited by America’s Health Insurance Plans — the lobbying arm of the insurance industry — and funneled to the Chamber.