Watchdog Group Again Asks FBI and Department of Justice to Investigate Allegations From US Chamber of Commerce Whistleblower

Oct 08, 2010, 08:05 ET from

Chamber Insider Claims Widespread Financial Improprieties

WASHINGTON, Oct. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On August 4, 2010, spokesman and attorney Kevin Zeese received a letter from a purported Chamber of  Commerce insider in response to the group's reward offer. In short, the insider compares Chamber CEO Tom Donohue to Jack Abramoff, Michael Scanlon and Bernie Madoff, in the manner in which he is scamming companies to serve his own interests rather than the interests of the business community.  He alleges fraud, campaign finance violations and financial improprieties that could be uncovered with a criminal investigation. Equally troubling, he alleges that Mr. Donohue does not fear the FEC or Congress and has a plan in place to attack the Department of Justice if the DOJ investigates him.

A few select quotes from the whistleblower are as follows:

"I am concerned about the activities that have been going on here [at the Chamber] and I believe that decent people are going to get hurt and tarnished if something is not done."

"[T]he Chamber coordinates directly with the Republican Party on issues, ads, legislation, candidates and everything else...."

"Companies that give money to the Chamber are told that their money will be kept secret from everyone including the Government.  They are given specific instructions on how to circumvent campaign finance regulations."

"[T]here is a vast amount of secrecy about what money comes in and what it is used for.  [M]oney meant for one thing has actually been redirected to another thing on orders from Mr. Donohue and without the knowledge of the company that gave the money."

"[I]f there was an audit done of the Chamber's finances and cross referenced to those companies that gave [the] money, there would be vast discrepancies between income and outlays."

Mr. Zeese immediately forwarded the whistleblower letter to the FBI and DOJ with a request to investigate the detailed allegations in the letter.

"The recent allegations against the Chamber that it has been commingling foreign money with other income and using that money to influence elections, appears to corroborate what the Chamber whistleblower wrote two months ago," said Mr. Zeese.   "We believe that the evidence presented to the Department of Justice by the whistleblower combined with this new foreign money evidence provides a sufficient basis to warrant a serious in depth criminal investigation of the Chamber and its operations. We urge the Department of Justice to announce such an investigation, complete with grand jury subpoenas, witness testimony and  compelled discovery. The whistleblower has alleged that Chamber CEO Tom Donohue is engaged in a Bernie Madoff/Jack Abramoff scam where he creates crises to scare the business community, shakes them down with false promises, and launders their money not to serve the interests of the companies but rather to protect his own interests. The criminal allegations against the Chamber have now reached critical mass and federal officials must take immediate action to protect companies, shareholders, citizens, and elections.  Indeed, President Obama said today that the Chamber's activities constitute a 'threat to democracy.'"