Archive for u.s. chamber of commerce

New list of dark money shell game groups connected to Koch brothers

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 Photo by Gus Ruelas/Greenpeace

As much as we think we know about the infamous Koch brothers, there is a lot we don't know. But thanks to the Center for Media and Democracy's PR Watch, we are now more informed about how they've been spending their billions.

For example, money went to the NRA, NFIB, the Chamber of Commerce, Koch cut-outs, Generation Opportunity (youth propaganda machine), the tea party, the Heritage Foundation, and the California (and probably more) ballot initiative subverter, CPPR, along with old stand-bys like 60+.

surprise

Via PR Watch:

Today, the Koch-funded "Freedom Partners," which secretly distributed $250 million during the 2012 election season, posted its first federal tax report which uncloaked several Koch-related entities that were previously unknown. [...]

The new-ish organization, formally known as "Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce," lists five entities which it owned 100% of:

  • The "American Entrepreneur Fund LLC," which had assets of $885,316 and whose activities are listed as simply as "projects"

  • The "American Enterprise Group LLC," which had assets of $424,975 and whose activities are listed as "management"

  • The "American Strategies Group LLC," which had assets of $97,714 and whose activities are listed as "public outreach"

  • The "MIC LLC," with assets of $25,000 and whose job was "research"

  • And, "American Strategic Innovations LLC," with assets of $4,976, whose job was also research

Here are a few revelations, with more details at the link:

  • The Koch-fueled "Center to Protect Patient Rights" (CPPR) got more than $100 million last year.
  • The not-so-independent National Federation of Independent Businesses claims to represent small business owners. It is the antithesis of being funded by the family fortune of one of biggest billionaire corporations in the world, Koch Industries.
  • The Kochs have claimed no role on gun policy; the NRA got millions. As controversy has grown over the role of the Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in pushing so-called "Stand Your Ground" legislation, Koch Industries has repeatedly issued denouncements that it has any role in gun policies.

In addition to these, the Freedom Fund Chamber of Commerce spent another $50 million on other groups, cumulatively, some of which are well known and some of which have flown below the public's radar.

Again, among those groups are  the "Tea Party Patriots" operating out of Woodstock, Georgia; "The Republican Jewish Coalition"; the "Heritage Action for America, Inc.," connected to the Heritage Foundation, which has deep Koch connections; and "The National Right to Work Committee," who received $1,000,000 for pushing anti-worker, union-busting measures.

Money talks. We need to talk back, only louder.

More here.

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Judge throws out rule forcing oil and mining companies to disclose payments to foreign governments

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that's oil folks smaller

Gee, what a surprise: A victory for Big Oil.

Via The Hill:

A federal judge on Tuesday threw out a controversial Securities and Exchange Commission rule that would force oil and mining companies to disclose payments to foreign governments.

The decision is a victory for oil industry and business groups that claim the requirements would have imposed costly burdens and forced disclosure of commercially sensitive information. [...]

The decision is a defeat for human rights groups, who say the rule provides “transparency” that can help prevent corruption and ensure the public benefits from energy development in Africa and elsewhere.

The rule was required under the 2010 Dodd-Frank law, and the American Petroleum Institute (API) and Chamber of Commerce couldn't be happier that it was tossed.

It's safe to say that this time around, the GOP won't refer to the decision as judicial activism.

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Supreme Court to consider workplace harassment rules

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On Monday, the Supreme Court will hear a case that could have an impact on workplaces galore, because it will be deciding whether or not a company is liable for harassment by its employees. The magic word will be "supervisor" and its legal definition will be key. The outcomes of racial, religious or sexual harassment claims hang in the balance:

(Reuters) - Under previous Supreme Court rulings, an employer is automatically responsible if a supervisor harasses a subordinate. The employer is not liable if the harassment is between two equal coworkers, unless it was negligent in allowing the abuse.

Since those rulings, a rift has developed between federal appeals courts over exactly who is a supervisor. On one side, three circuits say supervisors are those with the power to hire, fire, demote, promote or discipline. Three other circuits have adopted a broader standard, one that also includes employees who direct and oversee a colleague's daily work.

To no one's surprise, business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have filed briefs supporting the narrow definition of supervisor.

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U.S. Supreme Court Rules in U.S. Chamber’s Favor in EVERY CASE DECIDED So Far This Term

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The Constitutional Accountability Center has the details.

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This headline speaks volumes: U.S. Chamber of Commerce "promises vigorous campaign ads despite court rulings"

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Court rulings, schmourt schmulings, nobody's gonna stop what we do, nohow, nowhere, no way, says the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Bring it on, right Tom Donohue? That's tellin' 'em. Who do these appeals courts think they are, anyway?!

Damned activist judges.

The Hill:

Court rulings that require the disclosure of funding for campaign “issue” ads will not change the U.S Chamber of Commerce’s political program, officials with the business group insisted Monday.

Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue promised a vigorous campaign program despite a U.S. Court of Appeals ruling last week upholding an earlier judgment that the Federal Elections Commission was wrong not to require disclosure of funding for issue ads.

Per Think Progress, Tom Donahue announced this morning that his corporate lobbying group would spend even more than the $50 million previously reported.

Ain't Citizens United swell?

Chamber president to the court:

Boyoboy, he sure showed them.

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Video- Occupiers Roll Out Human Red Carpet At Chamber of Commerce Holiday Party

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Brilliant. Via Think Progress.

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Dep't. of Duh: U.S. Chamber of Commerce kicks off attack ads early, wants a more business-friendly Congress

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It's swell that President Obama is raising more money than any GOP candidate and plans on competing in all 50 states, but there's always that pesky "however" looming overhead. And that "however" is spelled C-I-T-I-Z-E-N-S U-N-I-T-E-D generally, and U-S  C-H-A-M-B-E-R- O-F- C-H-A-M-B-E-R O-F C-O-M-M-E-R-C-E specifically. Via the L.A. Times:

The chamber's power has grown enormously in the last decade under Chief Executive Tom Donohue, who has emphasized political engagement and building the organization's membership and treasury. Because it is a nonprofit trade association, the chamber can accept unlimited contributions from corporations and then use them in independent political ads — giving it an advantage over the strictly limited donations to candidates. Like other trade associations, the chamber does not release details of the donations and it has resisted efforts to require donor disclosure.

The new ads are so-called issue ads that do not explicitly endorse or oppose a candidate, but instead urge viewers to call the official.

They're airing ads earlier in the campaign cycle than ever before. Why? Simple. They want a more business-friendly Congress.

It's hard to believe a more business-friendly Congress is even possible.

[They] expect to use a grass-roots organization, "Friends of the Chamber," to actively target 10 to 12 Senate races and 50 or more House seats, a record number. They also expect to see a boost in the number of state and local chamber affiliates becoming active politically. [...] The Friends of the Chamber program was the brainchild of the chamber's recently departed political director, Bill MillerThe organization now boasts 7 million members who have generated more than 2.3 million letters and emails to members of Congress since 2008.

Of course, their overall theme is "economic growth versus big government." I would add to that, "undisclosed donor growth versus transparency and campaign finance reform."

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