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WASHINGTON, D.C. April 5, 2018 – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s staff has deep ties to the Republican Party and conservative groups, breaking with the bipartisan nature of the business community it claims to represent, according to a new report from Public Citizen.
The analysis of 380 current and former Chamber staff members as of November 2017 identified 157 employees who previously worked in positions that could be characterized as political. Of these, more than 90 percent previously worked for Republicans or conservative groups, and fewer than 10 percent worked for Democrats or liberal groups.
Common previous employers included the Republican Party, Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, Republican White Houses and Cabinet secretaries, Republican presidential transition teams, Republican convention committees, Republican inaugural committees, state and local Republican elected officials, Republican campaign committees, Republican and conservative PACs, conservative outside groups, conservative fundraising and lobbying firms, and conservative media.
Some of those lobbying firms and outside groups included the Heritage Foundation, which employed nine Chamber staffers, and groups affiliated with the Koch brothers, including FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity. The Republican lawmakers included senior members such as U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who employed four former Chamber staffers, and former House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
The new analysis follows a previous Public Citizen report documenting that 100 percent of the Chamber’s near-$30 million in election spending in 2016 benefited Republican candidates.
“Today’s report makes clear just how partisan the Chamber has become, and raises questions about whether the Chamber has become a tool of the Republican Party masquerading as a broad-based business advocacy group,” said Lisa Gilbert, vice president of legislative affairs for Public Citizen.