The United States Chamber of Commerce (USCC) is one of the oldest trade associations and lobbying organizations in Washington DC, with its massive headquarters directly across from the White House. The annual revenue of the Chamber topped $178 million dollars in 2016.
On an annual basis the Chamber spends a fortune on public relations firms, totaling $284.4 million from 2008 to 2017, second only to the American Petroleum Institute in our analysis, which spent $663.2 million during the same time period. USCC spent upwards of $25 million on contractors in 2016.
USCC has contracted with at least 14 different firms from 2008 to 2017. Their largest contract during that time period was with National Media Public Affairs, a one-off, $60.1 million contract in 2009. This NMPA contract is also the largest single-year contract in our entire data set. The next year, 2010, NMPA only received $9.1 million. Then the firm did not appear on any of USCC’s 990 forms from 2011 onward, likely due to the merger of NMPA and Issue & Image, forming Purple Strategies, which received a $4.6 million contract with USCC in 2014.
USCC has participated in the formation of front groups in the past, and most recently signed on to the American Petroleum Institute’s project ExploreOffshoreUSA.com. The website is hosted at a DDC Advocacy server, and bills itself as a coalition of “small businesses, local associations, and veterans groups” that support offshore oil drilling.
USCC represents business interests on a wide range of issues, such as healthcare, taxes, energy, and more. In 2007, USCC developed the Global Energy Institute (GEI), an in-house think tank. Since GEI does not file its own 990, we are assuming that it has access to the same PR services as its USCC parent, including web content or graphics. GEI’s website hosts informative and easy to read graphics (i.e. on the detriments of net metering or the benefits of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline).
The graphics for this campaign look inviting and objective, but they are created in order to push USCC’s members’ anti-solar energy and pro-pipeline, pro-fracking agendas, paving the way for more fossil fuel extraction and consumption. This emphasis shows the top-heavy fossil fuel focus of the Chamber’s undisclosed large contributors. ExxonMobil Foundation, for example, has reported a $1 million annual donation to the Chamber of Commerce over the past several years. This donation is not disclosed on the Chamber of Commerce website or public tax forms.
Read more about USCC at Sourcewatch
Read more about USCC at DeSmog
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