Continuing effort to silence critics, Democrats target U.S. Chamber of Commerce with elections bill

April 8, 2010 05:13

Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said in February they planned to introduce the legislation.

Bloomberg News via Washington Examiner

Companies would be required to disclose their contributions to political advertising run by organizations such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce under a bill being considered by Democratic lawmakers.

The proposed legislation is a response to a Supreme Court ruling that allows corporations to spend unlimited amounts of their own money on political ads. The Jan. 21 decision triggered concern that companies would funnel unprecedented sums of cash into the chamber’s decades-old system of anonymously funded pro-business campaigns.

The bill, which may be introduced as early as next week, would require nonprofit groups, unions and trade associations including the chamber to identify who pays for ads designed to sway opinion on candidates for federal office.

The nation’s biggest business lobbying group, the chamber spent $47 million on issue advertising last year, mostly on health care policy, according to Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group in Arlington. The chamber has said it plans to spend $50 million on candidate- focused ads alone this year.

An additional $144 million of chamber spending went toward lobbying last year, more than five times that of the second-largest spender, Exxon Mobil Corp. That spending isn’t affected by the court ruling or proposed legislation.


Help Make A Difference By Sharing These Articles On Facebook, Twitter And Elsewhere: