Thursday, October 14, 2010

Chamber of Commerce makes the coward's argument

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce still won't tell anyone how much foreign money it's funneling to run misleading ads against candidates it doesn't like.

ThinkProgress broke the story about the Chamber's illegal political activity. The blog reported today that the Chamber's own documents showed that it collected $885,000 from over 80 foreign companies. That money went into the same account used to pay for political attack ads.

The Chamber's top lobbyist, Bruce Josten, flat-out told CNN's Chuck Todd that they would continue to stonewall.

Here's the exchange:

TODD: Are you guys eventually going to disclose?


TODD: So your donors are afraid of a public backlash?

JOSTEN: Absolutely. […] Corporations, as I said, have employees, vendors, suppliers, and shareholders of all political stripes. They’re not trying to alienate anybody. They’re looking for representative organizations, such as mine and thousands of others, to be an express organization to advocate for them on their behalf.

It's what the Sunlight Foundation calls the "coward's argument against transparency."