The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is taking heat for proposing an economic study that would portray healthcare reform negatively as part of a public-relations campaign.

In an e-mail soliciting funds for the study, the Chamber proposes hiring a "respected economist" to author a report on healthcare, then circulate the results in an effort to kill reform legislation, the Washington Post reports:

Step two, according to the e-mail, appears to assume the outcome of the economic review: "The economist will then circulate a sign-on letter to hundreds of other economists saying that the bill will kill jobs and hurt the economy. We will then be able to use this open letter to produce advertisements, and as a powerful lobbying and grass-roots document." 

The Post tracked down the e-mail's author, who said the study would only be used against reform efforts "if that's what is found."

The Democratic National Committee sent out an e-mail release Monday morning blasting the Chamber for proposing an "economic study on health insurance reform for which they have already determined the outcome. Unbelievable."