Watchdog Group Urges Congress To Stop Meeting With Chamber Of Commerce Lobbyists
StopTheChamber.com, a national watchdog group dedicated to corporate accountability, today calls on every member and staffer in Congress to stop meeting with all lobbyists employed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce until the Chamber stops attempting to undermine legislation and influence congressional elections.
Last week, the Chamber issued a statement that it strongly opposes the recently introduced DISCLOSE Act because the act would restrict the ability of corporations to secretly fund election ads by big corporations. Two months ago the Chamber announced plans to spend at least $50 million to elect candidates in the 2010 election who support business interests, such as the corporate deregulation that led to the biggest disasters of this century at Goldman Sachs which helped to undermine the economy, Massey Energy (whose CEO is on the board of the Chamber) which caused the death of 29 miners through criminal negligence, and BP oil which killed 11 workers and polluted the Gulf with a massive oil spill.
“The Chamber, after allocating as much as $100 million to oppose health care, corporate regulation, environmental protection and financial reform legislation, now plans to spend another $50 million to target members who vote to protect people over profits,” said StopTheChamber spokesman and attorney Kevin Zeese. “This constitutes a gross abuse of our democratic system, and therefore we have called for a wide ranging criminal investigation into the Chamber’s money laundering and astroturfing activities in order to expose the extent of its secret funding and determine whether its payoffs and payouts constitute bribery under the federal bribery statute. How many crimes do Chamber leaders and members have to commit before the Justice Department and Congress see the connection between Chamber policies and that criminal activity? The Chamber, with its army of lobbyists, is able to demand protection money from Big Business merely because it has access to Congress members. Thus, just like disgraced criminal lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the way to stop the Chamber’s corrupting influence is to investigate what it promises for access and how it spends its money. We call on every Congress member to put the word out, ‘No Chamber lobbyists allowed.’ We remind all Congress members that Abramoff was once the most powerful lobbyist in Washington and, when he was indicted, he took a lot of people with him. We believe, based on information we are providing to the Justice Department, that a criminal investigation of the Chamber and its lobbyists will make Abramoff look like a choir boy.”
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