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ThinkProgress continues on the Chamber beat, catching this interview Chuck Todd conducted with the Chamber of Commerce’s chief lobbyist Bruce Josten, discussing the TP ongoing investigation documenting the Chamber's foreign sources of funding.

Continuing the defiant attitude that the Chamber has continued to express, Josten steadfastly refused to consider disclosure, and tried to deflect the question.

Josten then ironically offered a huge “canard” of his own, peddling a conservative blog’s report. Josten claimed the Chamber won’t release its foreign donors because a 527 organization that White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs worked for in 2003-04 skirted the law by delaying disclosure of their own donors.

In fact, 527s are required to release their donors, and as Todd informed Josten, the group for which Gibbs worked “did eventually disclose.” So Todd pressed the Chamber on whether his organization, which is operating like a 527 by running partisan political ads on television, would hold to the same standard:

TODD: Are you guys eventually going to disclose?

JOSTEN: No! [...]

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.

TODD: It’s kind of a depressing outlook, the fact that we think that being public about where you stand on an issue, you don’t want to go public because of — you just fear some sort of potentially negative retribution.

“Corporations, I think, sit in a very different space here than individuals,” Josten explained, as a reason for why corporations shouldn’t have to disclose.

So, as TP says, the Chamber doesn't believe that it has to be accountable to the public, that individuals have to be held to a higher standard than corporations, and that corporations, including multinationals, play by their own rules. Consider this quote from yesterday's TP story.
   

“We have probably 60 or so foreign multi-national companies in our membership that we have had for decades, many of which have been in the United States for half a century or a century,” said Josten.

This quote says it all. The Chamber's defense seems to be that the multinationals have a right to influence U.S. elections by virture of the fact of existing. That essentially concedes that the Chamber isn't advocating for the U.S. in general, it's advocating solely for business. That couldn't be made any more clear than by the fact that the job-outsourcing and Chamber political advertising seem to go hand in hand.

[T]he nonpartisan campaign finance watchdog Campaign Money Watch found that more than 1.4 million jobs were outsourced since 1994 in the nine states in which the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is spending significant money. The group also found that more than 184,000 jobs were lost to outsourcing in the 22 congressional districts in which the Chamber has spent $4.8 million on political ads in the same time period.

The Chamber continues to proceed with complete impunity, spending more and more to defeat Dems and make it even easier for their big multinational constituency to hurt the American worker.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Thu Oct 14, 2010 at 07:00 PM PDT.

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