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Chamber of Commerce clarifies stance on lawmakers who voted against election certification

Chamber of Commerce clarifies stance on lawmakers who voted against election certification
© Greg Nash

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the powerful pro-business lobbying group, said Friday it will not base decisions to support members of Congress solely on their votes against certifying the Electoral College results.

The Chamber clarified its original criticism following the Jan. 6 deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol, saying casting a vote is different than being part of pushing conspiracy theories.

“We do not believe it is appropriate to judge members of Congress solely based on their votes on the electoral certification. There is a meaningful difference between a member of Congress who voted no on the question of certifying the votes of certain states and those who engaged and continue to engage in repeated actions that undermine the legitimacy of our elections and institutions,” said Ashlee Rich Stephenson, Chamber senior political strategist. 

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“For example, casting a vote is different than organizing the rally of January 6 or continuing to push debunked conspiracy theories. We will take into consideration actions such as these and future conduct that erodes our democratic institutions,” she added. 

The Chamber first announced it would halt political contributions to certain lawmakers on Jan. 12, following the riots, and did not specifically name whose support would be pulled. 

“There are some members that by their actions will have forfeited the support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Period, full stop,” Neil Bradley, chief policy officer at the Chamber, said at the time. 

He was asked specifically whether the group would pull support for Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyHillicon Valley: Biden administration sanctions Russia for SolarWinds hack, election interference The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - CDC in limbo on J&J vax verdict; Rep. Brady retiring Republican lawmakers reintroduce bill to ban TikTok on federal devices MORE (R-Mo.), and said at the time, “We’re going to have a lot more to say about the members whose actions last week and the actions over the next eight days and beyond will have cost them the Chamber’s support.” 

He was referring to Inauguration Day, which was eight days away from the Chamber’s initial announcement.

Stephenson on Friday did not name any lawmakers in her announcement. She said that over the past two months, the Chamber has engaged with over 100 members regarding political support for members after the Jan. 6 riots.

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“Going forward, the Chamber will evaluate our support for candidates – Republicans and Democrats – based on their position on issues important to the Chamber, as well as their demonstrated commitment to governing and rebuilding our democratic institutions,” she said. 

Some corporations are specifically saying they won't donate to the 147 GOP lawmakers who voted to challenge the election results, which includes House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyKinzinger: Republicans who join 'America First' caucus should be stripped of committees McCarthy: GOP not the party of 'nativist dog whistles' Pro-Trump lawmakers form caucus promoting 'Anglo-Saxon political traditions' MORE (R-Calif.) who voted to reject electoral votes from Arizona and Pennsylvania.

McCarthy in January was calling donors, trying to calm nerves and vowing that Republicans could work with the Biden administration.

The Chamber’s political action committee is typically a reliable resource for Republicans.

-Updated 5:37 p.m.