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kpete Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-23-10 12:26 PM
Original message
Source: Think Progress

U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Is Fueled By Foreign Oil

The United States Chamber of Commerce is running an unprecedented $75 million campaign to unseat progressives from Congress, in defense of a big-oil agenda. As a ThinkProgress investigation has learned Chambers donors who send their checks to the same account from which the political campaign is run include multinational oil corporations, and even oil companies owned by the Kingdom of Bahrain. The oil-fueled Chamber has hammered candidates who voted to limit our dependence on oil, falsely claiming they supported a job-killing energy tax (like Rep. Paul Hodes (D-NH), Rep Joe Sestak (D-PA), Rep. Betsy Markey (D-CO), Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), and Rep. Harry Teague (D-NM)).

The Chamber has repeatedly questioned the science behind climate change, even calling for a Scopes monkey trial in 2009. Numerous companies, including Apple, Exelon, PNM Resources, PG&E, and PSEG, quit the Chamber because of their reactionary opposition to climate legislation, determined by right-wing board members like coal giants Massey, Peabody, and Consol. Multinational oil companies BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Hess, and Shell Oil fund the Chamber of Commerce through its Business Civic Leadership Council. The Chambers anti-clean-energy agenda serves not only domestic coal barons and oil majors, but also the following foreign oil and coal companies, who are some of the dozens of foreign corporations that pay member dues to the Chamber of Commerces 501c(6) account, which is used to fund its political ads:

Avantha Group, India (at least $7,500 in annual member dues): power plants

The Bahrain Petroleum Company, Kingdom of Bahrain ($5,000): state-owned oil campany

Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company, Kingdom of Bahrain ($5,000): state-owned oil company

Essar Group, Mumbai, India ($7,500): oil & gas, coal power

GMR, Bangalore, India ($15,000): coal power, mining

Hinduja Group, London, UK ($15,000): the Gulf Oil group

Jindal Power, New Delhi, India ($15,000): coal power

Lahmeyer International, Frankfurt, Germany ($7,500): power plant engineering

Punj Lloyd, Gurgaon, India ($15,000): offshore pipelines

Reliance Industries, Mumbai, India ($15,000): oil and gas, petrochemicals

SNC Lavalin, Montreal, Canada ($7,500): mining, power plant, and oil & gas engineering

Tata Group, Mumbai, India ($15,000): power plants, oil & gas

Walchandnagar Industries, Mumbai, India ($7,500): power plant, oil & gas engineering

Welspun, Mumbai, India ($7,500): oil & gas exploration

To secure Americas long-term energy security, America must reexamine outdated and entrenched positions, become better informed about the sources of our fuel and power, and make judgments based on facts, sound science, and good American common sense, the Chamber argues. America will be insecure as long as the Chamber is spreading lies about science and energy supported by foreign polluter cash.

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ProfessionalLeftist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-23-10 01:40 PM
Response to Original message
1. Dems need to hammer on this relentlessly. n/t
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creon Donating Member (723 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-23-10 01:59 PM
Response to Original message
2. For sale
Foreign companies have learned that US politics is for sale to the highest bidder. There does not need to be a quid pro quo; it is not difficult to sidestep the bribery statute.
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AzNick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-23-10 02:15 PM
Response to Original message
3. Were it the other way around, Fox News would cover it 24/7 and call it fundinggate n/t
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-23-10 02:30 PM
Response to Original message
4. Kicked and recommended.
Thanks for the thread, kpete.
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democracy1st Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-23-10 03:34 PM
Response to Original message
5. K & R
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Historic NY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-23-10 03:36 PM
Response to Original message
6. K&R
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OlympicBrian Donating Member (456 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-23-10 06:58 PM
Response to Original message
7. The selfish spirit of commerce knows no country
I just spoke with a representative from the DC office of my Senator, Patty Murray. He confirmed my worst suspicions related to another dire aspect of the US Chamber of Commerce controversy. You see, not only is the Chamber responsible for money flow to ads BEFORE the election (the origin of money which we don't know), but they are ALSO responsible for the flow of money through the political system AFTER the election, for lobbying (lawmaking) purposes. Being the LARGEST lobbying entity in the US, and probably in the world, the Chamber can essentially buy out votes.

Not only that, but the restrictions on amounts and sources of money that pass through the Chamber for lobbying purposes are even more lax than those for election money--among other things, the sources can be foreign. Like the donations through the Chamber for elections, these sources can be unlimited in amount. So, for example, the position of a foreign company or interest on a particular bill can essentially be bought via contributions to the Chamber--in other words, foreigners can make US laws! Once again, since the Chamber is the largest lobbying entity, they are the most responsible for US laws, regardless of who we elect.

The Chamber has recently taken pro-offshoring, anti-US-job lobbying positions. They even have said they support hiring a foreign worker over an American. Not surprisingly, the Chamber shares interests with multinational corporations who employ communist Chinese production, for example. Googling the web, I found media posts showing that foreign governments and interests celebrate the actions of the Chamber. So while our Congress acts in lockstep with the Chamber lobbyists to hurt our economy, foreign countries get their payoffs via the Chamber. Did you know the US allows tax benefits for offshoring US jobs? Once again, the Chamber lobbied against a law to stop this.

Do we really want potentially secret, foreign money in our elections, and in our lawmaking as well?

"I hope we shall... crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and to bid defiance to the laws of our country."

- Thomas Jefferson to George Logan, 1816.

"Shall we make our own comforts, or go without them at the will of a foreign nation? He, therefore, who is now against domestic manufacture must be for reducing us either to dependence on that foreign nation, or to be clothed in skins and to live like wild beasts in dens and caverns. I am not one of these; experience has taught me that manufactures are now as necessary to our independence as to our comfort."

- Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Austin, 1816.

"The selfish spirit of commerce knows no country, and feels no passion or principle but that of gain."

- Thomas Jefferson to Larkin Smith, 1809.
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ProudDad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-23-10 10:21 PM
Response to Original message
8. USAmerikan Empire and its pattern of
voracious suburbs fueled by cheap oil...

Until 2008...

It's all down hill from here...

I hope it's soon enough for the Earth to avoid destruction...
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DavidSegal Donating Member (24 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-26-10 02:37 PM
Response to Original message
9. New Hampshire Chamber of Commerce Disaffiliates from National: Let's Make it the First of Many

Cross-posted at HuffPo-

The Greater Hudson Chamber of Commerce has had enough: It's so fed up with the shameless politicking that's being done in its name that it disaffiliated from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce earlier this month.

Will you help make sure it's the first of many by signing on to Demand Progress's letter urging local chambers of commerce to disaffiliate? /

The so-called United States Chamber of Commerce -- flush with donations from foreign lands -- has spent countless millions lobbying Washington against progressive policies. That includes more than $81 million so far this year to work against health care, workers' rights, social security, environmental initiatives and more. Combined with its anti-consumer rights Institute for Legal Reform, it spent $144 million on lobbying in 2009 alone.

Now the Chamber's being used as a laundromat, through which corporations like Chevron, Dow Chemical, and Goldman Sachs are washing millions of dirty dollars as they try to throw next week's elections. The Chamber is taking advantage of the Citizens United decision by spending more than $75 million this cycle, with over 90% of its money going to support Republicans.

But the Chamber is also spending your money: It's supported by a network of dues-paying local affiliates -- some representing small towns, and others whole states. You can look for affiliates over here.

The Chamber is controlled by the big boys -- Wall Street, Big Oil, Big Pharma, and the rest of the gang. But the hometown affiliates help pay for its bureaucracy and give it a good name -- one that's steadily being sullied as the Chamber pushes a radical agenda that hurts most Americans.

The national chamber's egregious political spending is already the object of consternation in many local chapters: they include plenty of all small businesses, and even non-profits and social service agencies, that sure as hell aren't happy about the dirty politicking that's being done on their behalf or the potential that their plight will be made even worse by a Republican-controlled Congress. Even some bigger companies, like Apple, have already severed their ties.

Combating corporate control of the government is the fight of our lifetime: If we don't fix the way people get elected, we will never be able to address any of the other issues that we all care about. We need to figure out ways to fight back, and fast: This session's Congress -- elected in a pre-Citizens United world -- failed even to pass the pathetic Disclose Act this summer. As congressmembers get elected based on the new rules they'll have even less incentive to change them.

It's a daunting undertaking. But you can help us hit them where it hurts: Please join us as we call on more local chapters to disaffiliate.

We'll make sure the chapters hear your calls -- and we'll keep you informed as our effort proceeds, so you can choose where to spend your money without worrying that you're forwarding the radical right's attempt to usurp our democracy.
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harun Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-26-10 02:41 PM
Response to Original message
10. Members of the COC should have to register as agents of foreign governments.
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