Popular conceptions of the Chamber of Commerce center around the legend of Main Street in small town America, a place where a bunch of truly small businesses are run by people who come together to think about the economic well being of their entire community. The idea suggests that the Chamber of Commerce is non-partisan, and is only focused on common sense solutions.
Those popular conceptions have been shattered by the spending record of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Almost all of the money that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has given to politicians has been given to Republicans. The money that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has given to Democrats has been given to right wing Democrats who mostly vote just like Republicans.
In reaction to this accusation, defenders of the Chamber of Commerce have claimed that, while the national Chamber of Commerce may be an overwhelmingly pro-Republican organization, at lower levels, the Chamber of Commerce is bipartisan and made up more of ordinary folks who don’t have a political axe to grind.
That assertion is contradicted, however, by contributions made by state-level organizations of the Chamber of Commerce. Yesterday, for example, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce made independent expenditures in favor of Todd Young and Jackie Walorski, Republican candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives. The Indiana Chamber of Commerce made no independent expenditures to help out any Democratic candidates, however, and never has.
Next door in Michigan, the state Chamber of Commerce made independent expenditures to promote Republican candidates for Congress. The organization didn’t help a single Democratic candidate.
At both the federal and state level, the Chamber of Commerce seems like a remarkably ideological and partisan organization, not the assemblage of earnest Mom and Pop residents of Main Street that Norman Rockwell might have depicted.