Chamber goes tech

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is launching a new technology-focused arm with an office in Silicon Valley.

The project, announced by the country’s largest business lobby on Tuesday, will work with tech companies and seek to push their interests in Washington.

ADVERTISEMENT
David Chavern, the Chamber’s former chief operating officer, will lead the new Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation.

“Washington is far away from most of the tech sector — both physically and culturally,” he said in a statement. “We must be closer to our tech members, and also give them greater access to the incredible resources we have to meet their needs and tell their story.”

Chavern has a history of opening up new offshoots at the Chamber. He created the lobby’s financial markets arm, the Center for Capital Market Competitiveness, and also founded its project targeting women in business. 

“David has served his time in an extremely challenging and often unsung job,” Tom Donohue, the group's president and chief executive, said in a statement.

“The tech sector is his passion, and it is an area where we need his entrepreneurial spirit and experienced leadership,” he added. “The opportunities of — and challenges to — the ‘new economy’ need to be met, and there is simply no one better placed to do that than David.”

The Chamber is one of the most powerful interest groups in Washington and dropped more than $74 million on lobbying expenses last year, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.

The organization has been one of the most vocal advocates for immigration reform, a top issue for the tech sector, and has also staked out tech-friendly positions on trade and intellectual property matters.

The new tech center will have offices in both Silicon Valley and Washington. Officials are currently looking at office locations and are considering staffing options.