You are hereWashington Post: U.S. Chamber of Commerce sets sights on Democrats ahead of midterm elections

Washington Post: U.S. Chamber of Commerce sets sights on Democrats ahead of midterm elections


March 16, 2010- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, already one of Washington's largest lobbying groups, is gearing up to play a major role in this year's midterm elections on a scale that rivals the nation's two main political parties.

Modeled in part on Barack Obama's 2008 campaign juggernaut, the group has built a grass-roots operation known as Friends of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It has a member list of 6 million names, aimed at lobbying on legislation and swaying voters to back preferred candidates, primarily Republicans, in battleground areas, officials said.

The group will target vulnerable Democrats in up to two dozen states with ads, get-out-the-vote operations and other grass-roots efforts. The chamber plans to spend at least $50 million on political races and related activities this year, a 40 percent increase from 2008.

The strategy follows the chamber's record lobbying effort at the end of 2009, when it spent nearly $800,000 a day rallying opposition to Democratic proposals in Congress. All told, the organization spent more money on lobbying and political activities last year than either the Democratic National Committee or the Republican National Committee, which serve as the main fundraising and grass-roots operations for the parties.

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