Adapted from a web presentation by the American Association for Justice.
- The Bailout
The U.S. Chamber has fought time and again to weaken regulations and accountability measures for its big Wall Street members, but when the deregulation it wanted led to the economic collapse, it ran to the front of the line for a bailout.
- Denying Climate Change
The Chamber continues, against all logic, to oppose policies to curtail climate change. They have even threatened to sue the EPA. Luckily, groups such as Google and Apple have left the Chamber as protest against this stance.
- Hypocritical Lobbying
While the Chamber has spent more than $226 million in the past decade in lobbying efforts to restrict Americans’ access to the courts, they have filed and average of lawsuits a week. They work to prevent consumers from filing complaints against them and stack the odds in their favor.
- What Small Businesses?
Over half of the Chamber’s funding comes from 16 giant corporations. So how can they claim to represent small businesses? Many state and local chambers have abandoned the U.S. Chamber in protest against the big business-dominated agenda.
- The “U.S.” Part Is Technical
Often, the U.S. Chamber prioritizes foreign companies over American ones. This includes flying to France to wine and dine with Airbus rather than Boeing. (Washingtonians, listen up!) In addition, they lobbied against limiting dependence on foreign oil because of their stake in Middle Eastern petroleum companies.
- Drowning Elections in Corporate Money
The Chamber continues to secretly pour hundreds of millions of dollars into state elections to support their own corporate candidates. Over 40 local chambers have left the national organization in response.
- Tampering with Juries
Not only has the Chamber stacked the odds to even get to court in their favor, they’ve consistently been linked with attempts to tamper with juries. After a case of witness-tampering by Arthur Anderson accountancy firm, the Chamber filed a brief on their behalf to say these actions were “part of numerous businesses’ everyday routine.”
- Supporting Polluters
U.S. Chamber CEO Tom Donohue jumped to defend BP after its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. He chided President Obama for taking responsibility to ensure the spill was cleaned and then said that taxpayers should help pay.
- Forced Arbitration
We’ve briefed you on forced arbitration before, but as a reminder, this is when businesses take away Americans’ access to justice by adding fine print to contracts that remove consumers’ ability to go to court and instead force them into a corporate-owned system with no option for appeal. No surprise here, but the Chamber has been pushing this the hardest. That is, except for with union contracts, where workers may have the upper hand. (The Chamber obviously doesn’t like others to use their policies against them.)
- Buying Washington, D.C.
The Chamber has spent about a billion dollars lobbying in the other Washington since 2000. They work to favor oil and gas companies, drug companies, asbestos companies, drug companies, and others. These companies often support unpopular legislation, so the Chamber lobbies for it instead of their members in order to hide their corporate members from the public’s eye. The Chamber even maintains separate accounts to hide the money they use to dispense their millions of dollars.