Pelosi takes on Chamber of Commerce over campaign spending

October 22, 2010

The phrase “Buy American”  may be taking on a new connotation in the rough-and-tumble battle over corporate financing and the midterm congressional elections.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has been pumping lots of cash into the campaign, received multimillion dollar donations from some major companies as it fought against government policies, the New York Times reported Thursday.

pelosi“They give new meaning to the term “Buy American”…  they want to buy these elections,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said when asked about the article in an MSNBC interview.

“If they win — which I fully intend to stop them from doing — but if they were to win, it would mean that we are now…  a plutocracy and oligarchy,” Pelosi said. “Whatever these few wealthy, secret, unlimited sources of money are can control our entire agenda,” she added.

The Chamber is tax-exempt and not obligated to disclose it donors.

The New York Times says what it found offers a glimpse of how the business network raised money as “it ramped up an orchestrated campaign to become one of the most well-financed critics of the Obama administration and an influential player in this fall’s Congressional elections.”

Citing Federal Election Commission filings, a article says that in the past week alone, the Chamber has spent more than $5.2 million – more than $1.7 million for House races and about $3.4 million on Senate contests.

Most spending backs Republicans more than 90 percent of the time and that’s made the Chamber a target of critics who say it’s become too partisan, The New York Times said.

The Chamber has made no secret of its effort to sway the outcome of the Nov. 2 election in which Democrats are fighting to retain control of Congress.

On Tuesday, the Chamber launched a new advertising blitz targeting California Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer in her bid for reelection. The three-term incumbent is in a close race with Republican challenger Carly Fiorina, a former Hewlett-Packard CEO.

Photo Credit: REUTERS/Richard Clement (Pelosi at a Capitol Hill news conference)


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

Well, apparently it’s OK for the mainstream media to continue its lionization of St. Obama and all things Democratic, but let American business pipe up in (justifiable) protest and it’s like, not so fast. Yet another example of why Ms Pelosi better freshen up her resume.

Posted by Gotthardbahn | Report as abusive

Just as the mainstream media carried the McCain/Palin cmpaign all the way across the finish line in 2008, they are carrying the GOP into November. The media does not “lionize all things Obama and Democratic.” Quite to the contrary, the message that the media is using to explain what‘s happening in the elections right is the exact same message that Republicans are using in their campaign ads.

Posted by Yellow105 | Report as abusive

Businesses create jobs, not Governments.

Posted by misterliu | Report as abusive

The US Chamber of Commerce is flooding the airwaves with a $75 million ad blitz entirely focused on blaming Democrats for killing jobs even as The Chamber openly supports American companies firing Americans to have the work done by people in other countries instead.

“People affected by offshoring should stop whining. The benefits of offshoring jobs outweighs the costs.”
“We are very confident that outsourcing is here to stay. It would be absolutely foolish to try and stop the phenomenon.”–Tom Donohue, CEO of the US Chamber of Commerce.

All of you Americans who lost your job because your job was outsourced to India or China, the Chamber of Commerce has a message for you. It is, “stop whining.”

Businesses create jobs, not Governments. Sure they do—Just not in the US.

Posted by Yellow105 | Report as abusive

‘All of you Americans who lost your job because your job was outsourced to India or China, the Chamber of Commerce has a message for you. It is, “stop whining.”’

I would add the following: Virtually all of those jobs outsourced to China in manufacturing require relatively low skills, yet union types in the US think they deserve $100K annually plus fringe benefits for making these widgets. Well, here’s a headline: American labour priced itself out of a job. Now deal with it or, better yet, complain to your union rep.

Posted by Gotthardbahn | Report as abusive

Not true at all. Chinese workers are highly skilled, and make everything from computers to wind turbines to military jets. But they work for $10 a day.
Are you saying American workers should work for $10 per day, while at the same time CEO compensation for US corporate officers continues to rise at an exponential rate?
Even Henry Ford knew that if his employees could not afford to buy his products, he would be bankrupt. Stop whining about the unions. Unions did not crash the economy. Countries with strong unions (Germany, Scandinavia, Canada) have a high standard of living for all, including the libertarian rich.

The point is, the Chamber of Commerce is accusing Democrats of killing jobs while they push policies…that kill American jobs. And you defend this.

Posted by Yellow105 | Report as abusive

I still haven’t figured the strategy behind
Business sending jobs overseas. Is it the low mentality of workers they like or is it the Socialist and Communist Governments they like doing business with? If it’s the Governments they like maybe they should move over there or we could become a Socialist or Comunist Government to accomodate Business. The way things are going, eventurally, it will probably morph into that anyway. I don’t agree with a strategy like this but it looks like we are headed that way.

Posted by ugg | Report as abusive

The Chamber has consistently supported policies that approve of the outsourcing of millions of American jobs, and in California they support Carly Fiorina over Barbara Boxer, even though Fiorina outsourced over 20,000 American jobs while while was CEO at Hewlett Packard. So, it’s not surprising that the Chamber hates Nancy Pelosi, as the Chamber is a long-running hypocritical joke.

Posted by Nerau | Report as abusive

Miss Pelosi, did ACORN buy American votes? Does the NEA buy American education standards? Did union dues go towards trying to buy the Arkansas election? Of course. But,I despise the Republican Chamber of Commerce for turning so hard right just as I despise the narrow minded unions who think only they own the Democratic party. So here we sit knee deep in decades of urinary olympics -for what? Both sides of the money trough has blood on it and now we Middles get to deal with the emotional Tea Party. Thanks for solving things with money.

Posted by pHenry | Report as abusive

Shocking !
Business as usual. The main difference between then and now is that the long-held tradition of back room politics and buying elections is seeing more of the light of day thanks to the many “liberals” that have fought for disclosure.The information age is making it more difficult to conceal what has always been a political practice, here and abroad. Will it change? Well isn’t that why we elected the current President only two years ago?

Posted by nieldevi | Report as abusive

Re; Democracy for Sale
In effort to help the cause to prevent our democracy from becoming a total hypocrisy, I have sent the following question to the DOW chemical company at I think it would be beneficial if numerous others were encouraged to send similar correspondence to DOW and others that have or will likely soon be exposed.
Steve Lawson

The letter I sent read as follows;
Is it true that DOW has recently donated millions of dollars directly or indirectly to the republican tea party? If so would it not be a wise move to prevent a likely boycott of your products, suppliers products, by openly donating as much money to the democrats?

Thank you,

Posted by Leftleaninglou | Report as abusive

Companies have a right to make secret donations. Consumers have a right to boycott the companies that donate to political parties they don’t support. If there is a price for information regarding these donations, it is just a matter of time before the donations are no longer secret.

Posted by Leftleaninglou | Report as abusive

The Republican election chant of 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008 was TERRORISM and how only they could be trusted protecting the country. It worked until Americans realized that without an economy, they didn’t have much to protect.

Fast forward. Chamber of Commerce takes huge dollars from foreign corporations and other sources without disclosing the sources. So how can any conservative in America be sure that the Chamber isn’t a front for foreign interests, some may even be those ISLAMIC FASCISTS TERRORISTS!!! How, you laugh. Well, the only way to prove this isn’t so is to have full disclosure. As far as anyone knows, it could be Al Qaida that is bankrolling the Chamber…

The ultimate realization is that the USA has lost its democracy to the oligarchy of big money. Money wins elections, not votes since the Supreme Court has ruled that a non-person perpetual entity like a corporation is protected under the Constitution to the same limit as a real person. since that ruling democracy has stopped in the USA.

Posted by Acetracy | Report as abusive