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.
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.