You are hereThink Progress: How The Chamber Gets Its Foreign Money

Think Progress: How The Chamber Gets Its Foreign Money


October 9, 2010- After consulting with the Chamber of Commerce’s chief lobbyist Bruce Josten, the New York Times and the Washington Post publish articles today largely dismissing concerns about the Chamber’s foreign sources of funding as a means to raise money to air political attack ads.

Both the Times and the Post articles fail to appreciate the scope of the Chamber’s foreign sources of funding, focusing instead too narrowly on independently-run, foreign-based “AmChams.” The Times casually disregards our report as part of a “Washington spin cycle” (which apparently also involves the New York Times editorial board). Eric Lichtblau writes:

“People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones,” said Bruce Josten, chief lobbyist for the chamber, as he recalled the 2008 allegations.

He accused Mr. Obama of using “smear tactics” in bringing up the issue at two separate campaign stops this week in order to deflect attention from his own record as the midterm elections approach. “This is a White House that seems to like to pick an enemy and use it as a foil to advance an agenda,” he said.

Mr. Josten said the Chamber of Commerce had 115 foreign member affiliates in 108 countries, who pay a total of less than $100,000 in membership dues that go into its general fund.

Similarly, the Post’s Dan Eggen writes:

R. Bruce Josten, the chamber’s executive vice president for government affairs, said in an interview Friday that the group “has never and will never” use dues collected from overseas business councils, known as “AmChams,” for U.S. political activities. He said the chamber is the victim of “a smear campaign” orchestrated with the involvement of the White House.

In fact, as ThinkProgress has noted, “AmChams” are only a small piece of the puzzle. Most of the Chamber’s foreign sources of funds come from large multi-national corporations which are headquartered abroad, like BP and Siemens. Direct contributions from foreign firms also are accepted under the auspices of the Chamber’s “Business Councils” located in various foreign countries. Here’s a visual graphic that demonstrates the Chamber’s foreign sources of funding:

FULL STORY HERE:

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