NGOs Launch Campaign to Stop the Chamber of Commerce

Oct 15, 2009, 08:00 ET from

President Obama, Nike, Apple, And Others Slam Chamber Positions

WASHINGTON, Oct. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, a coalition of NGOs, representing over a million members, launched a campaign at to stop the U.S. Chamber of Commerce from undermining health care, environmental protection, elections and big business regulation. The coalition is asking the Department of Justice to conduct a criminal investigation into illegal conduct by the Chamber and is demanding that Chamber CEO Tom Donahue be fired.

The Chamber is spending over $100 million to defeat new initiatives to reform the banking and health care industries and oppose legislation to curb global warming. On Friday, President Obama slammed the Chamber, and five major companies, Nike, Apple, Exelon Energy, PG&E and Public Service Co. of NM recently quit the Chamber because of its position on the environment. "The StopTheChamber coalition fundamentally disagrees with the Chamber on virtually every major public-policy issue, including financial deregulation, tax and fiscal policy, global warming and environmental enforcement, consumer protection, health care reform and climate change, all which elevate the interests of corporations over the well being of citizens they serve," said coalition spokesperson and attorney Kevin Zeese.

The StopTheChamber coalition demands:

* Fire Tom Donohue. Mr. Donohue is the Chamber's CEO who single handedly turned the Chamber into a pay-to-play vehicle for right-wing causes and corporate dishonesty. As former New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said, ''Tom Donohue has never once found a crime that he couldn't justify, as long as it was committed by one of his dues-paying members."

* Drop Corporate Support for the Chamber. Companies that do not agree with Chamber positions should quit their membership, and the coalition will target companies with exposure and boycotts if they remain with the Chamber.

* Launch A Federal Criminal Investigation Against The Chamber For Fraud, False Tax Filings And Campaign Finance Violations. The Chamber was found to have committed fraud and campaign finance violations in Ohio by creating a front group called Citizens for a Strong Ohio and funneling millions of dollars through it to defeat Supreme Court Justice Alice Resnick. This illegal Chamber practice is widespread and was also used against Karl Rove-targeted Mississippi Justice Oliver Diaz, and against other candidates in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Texas, Louisiana, Michigan, West Virginia, and Arkansas.

* Ask Congress To Investigate The Chamber. Congress should hold hearings to investigate the illegal and unethical activities of the Chamber, including astroturfing and election manipulation.

* Reorganize The Chamber. The Board of the Chamber should shut down the Chamber's lobbying arm and legal reform arm, and return to being a respected trade organization rather than a partisan PAC.

* Speak Out Against The Chamber. Companies, politicians and others that do not agree with the flat earth, anti science, partisan, anti people approach of the Chamber should speak out publicly against the Chamber.

The StopTheChamber coalition is mobilizing massive opposition in order to pressure Congress, the Attorney General and companies to take action against the Chamber.