US Chamber of Commerce
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is a powerful, secretive business lobby funded largely through large corporate contributions, although the exact source of much of its funding remains murky since it is not required to disclose its donors. Year after year, it tops the list of lobbying spenders, and it also doles out big money – over $30 million in each of the 2010 and 2012 cycles – to influence national elections, largely through ads targeting Democratic candidates. Officially nonpartisan, the vast majority of the Chamber’s political beneficiaries are Republican, and it has worked heavily against top progressive priorities including health care reform and Wall Street reform.
- Health insurance companies contributed over $100 million to the Chamber in 2009 and 2010, coinciding with the group’s efforts to block the Affordable Care Act.
- After the Affordable Care Act passed, the Chamber backed repeal efforts and ran ads in both the 2010 and 2012 cycles attacking politicians who supported reform.
- In 2012, the Chamber’s top targets were Democrats in competitive Senate races, unsuccessfully spending over $1 million each on efforts to defeat Tim Kaine (VA), Sherrod Brown (OH), Bill Nelson (FL), Tammy Baldwin (WI), Martin Heinrich (NM) and Jon Tester (MT).