A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

The Chamber and Foreign Contributions

Q: Is illegal foreign money being filtered through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to fund ads attacking Democrats?
A: The chamber says dues money paid by overseas companies "is not used for political ads," but won’t discuss how it segregates those funds. Democratic and liberal groups want an investigation of "likely" or "possible" legal violations.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Lobbying group representing more than 3 million businesses. Leans Right-center.

Burrowing into “Borrowing”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its allies have launched a last-minute TV attack claiming that "Washington wants 600 billion in new borrowing for their health care bill," despite the fact that the Congressional Budget Office projects the bill will reduce the federal deficit over the next 10 years, and for the 10 years after that, as well.

The ad was announced Thursday, March 18 by Employers for a Healthy Economy, a coalition of business groups opposed to the legislation.

Ad Serves Up a Dose of Exaggeration

The Washington Post reported on March 9 that Employers for a Healthy Economy, a coalition of business groups that includes the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, plans to spend up to $10 million running an ad about the effects of health care legislation on the economy.

The ad, which portrays workers and businesses going through difficult times, says that "health care costs will go even higher" and that this will "[make] a tough economy even worse." These claims need context.

U.S. Chamber: More Lawsuit Malarkey

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is running a false ad claiming that "52 percent of all lawsuits" target small businesses. The claim is contradicted by the very study the Chamber cites as its source, and it’s not even close to the truth. The study shows the true figure is somewhere between 5 percent and 8 percent.

A spokesman for the Chamber, Mark Szymanski, told us the ad began airing "nationally" in late December and will continue to air until the end of January.

Health Care and the Economy

Would the House-passed health care bill make a tough economy worse and wipe out more jobs, as claimed in a TV ad from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce? Or would it help small business and encourage economic growth, as claimed in an ad sponsored by a big labor union …

Taxing Businesses – and Consumers?

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Campaign for Responsible Health Reform has released a new ad that says politicians in Congress "want new taxes on health care companies, taxes that will get passed on to you."
The TV ad, which began airing Sept. 18 in 13 states, refers to the new Senate Finance Committee bill (aka Sen. Max Baucus’ bill), which proposes a tax on the most expensive health care plans, the type that gave rise to the term "Cadillac plan"

A False Ad About ‘Lawsuit Abuse’

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is running a TV ad alleging that "lawsuit abuse" is costing "your family" $3,500 a year. That’s false. The figure is from a study that estimates the cost of all lawsuits, not just abusive ones.
Even the author of the study cited by the chamber says its ad is "misleading." The fact is his study makes no attempt to specify which lawsuits are legitimate and which can be considered abusive.