You are herePolitico: Angry member groups shun U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Politico: Angry member groups shun U.S. Chamber of Commerce
December 7, 2010- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is under fire from some local chambers over its hard-hitting $75 million ad campaign to elect a Republican House, with dozens of groups distancing themselves from the effort and a handful even quitting the national group in protest.
“We were getting pounded. We felt here, in central Pennsylvania, that the ads they were running were not professional ads,” said David Wise, president of the Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County, which is considering dropping its national membership. “This was not a unifying event. It was divisive.”
More than 40 local chambers issued statements during the midterms distancing themselves from the U.S. Chamber’s campaign — including nearly every major local chamber in Iowa and New Hampshire, key states for the presidential campaign.
Other chambers plan to take the extraordinary step of ending their affiliation with the U.S. Chamber, including the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce in Pennsylvania. Its leaders reported being inundated with angry — and sometimes profanity-laced — telephone calls from people objecting to the U.S. Chamber-backed ads.
At the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce in Washington, officials hope to avoid a similar discussion about nonrenewal of its membership. “What we’d prefer to do at this point is have conversations with the U.S. Chamber representatives, so we can be more respectful of each other’s constituencies,” said George Allen, senior vice president of government relations with the Seattle Chamber.
The U.S. Chamber prides itself on a take-no-prisoners approach to power in Washington. Community-based chambers generally operate in a manner that encourages bipartisanship and consensus while shunning the edgy partisanship that became the hallmark of the national office’s 2010 political strategy.