Oopsies. The US Chamber of Commerce spent a whole lot of money in the last election supporting conservative candidates and causes. Turns out, local Chambers aren't so happy about being associated with that and are looking to end their memberships.
Part of the Chamber’s strategy has been to manipulate the press and the wider public by falsely portraying itself as a community of small businesses and local chambers of commerce. Meanwhile, local chambers are upset that they are being unfairly associated with the U.S. Chamber’s far right partisanship. Politico reported today reported on the growing rift:
“We were getting pounded. We felt here, in Central Pennsylvania, that the ads they were running were not professional ads,” said David Wise, president of the Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County, which is considering dropping its national membership. “This was not a unifying event. It was divisive.” [...] Other chambers plan to take the extraordinary step of ending their affiliation with the U.S. Chamber, including The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. Its leaders reported being inundated with angry — and sometimes profanity-laced — telephone calls from people objecting to the U.S. Chamber-backed ads. [...] Looking ahead to the 2012 elections, if more local chambers publicly declare their independence, it could undermine the power and credibility of attacks launched from the Washington office.
You know, when the Chamber was first formed in 1912, its focus was strictly a non-partisan one, encouraging the growth of American businesses and the hiring of American workers. By the 1970s, however, the Chamber turned undeniably right-wing and stopped expending energy protecting American workers. But now those ultra-conservative, America-hurting policies--ones in which the US Chamber of Commerce fought for the right of corporations to out-source American jobs and benefit foreign interests--are running counter to the needs and interests of the local Chambers and they've had enough.