Chamber of Commerce’s top political adviser ousted

Greg Nash

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s top political adviser has been forced out of his post just weeks before Election Day.

Scott Reed, a former executive director of the Republican National Committee, has spent almost a decade as the Chamber’s chief political mind. He has been behind hundreds of millions in advertising on behalf of Chamber-backed candidates, most of whom were fellow Republicans.

But this year, the Chamber decided to back about two dozen House Democrats, a sign the powerful business lobby did not foresee Republicans reclaiming the House any time soon.

“An internal review has revealed that Reed repeatedly breached confidentiality, distorted facts for his own benefit, withheld information from Chamber leadership and leaked internal information to the press,” a Chamber spokesperson told The Hill.

“Our decision is not based on a disagreement over political strategy but rather it is the result of Reed’s actions,” the spokesperson added, calling the reasons for Reed’s termination “irrefutable.” 

Reed could not be immediately reached for comment on Tuesday.

The adviser told The New York Times’s Maggie Haberman, who broke the news on Twitter, that he had resigned. A top Chamber official disputed that account, saying he had been fired for cause.

The termination of his consulting contract with the Chamber is effective immediately, according to the Chamber spokesperson.

The Chamber has taken fire from its typical Republican allies in recent weeks after backing Democratic candidates.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said earlier this month he would not accept the Chamber’s endorsement after, in his words, they “sold out.”

“It is hypocrisy that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce would endorse the Democrats that are part of this socialist agenda that is driving this country out, and it’s fighting this president,” McCarthy said on Fox News earlier this month.

The group has historically been one of the biggest pro-Republican outside spenders in political campaigns, dropping more than $29 million in 2016 and $35 million in both 2014 and 2012, Reed’s first cycle there.

The Chamber’s spending fell to just under $11 million in the 2018 midterm elections, when Democrats reclaimed the House majority. 

“We now return to the important work of ensuring that the Senate continues to advance pro-business priorities, supporting the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, and helping the nation’s economy recover,” the Chamber spokesperson said Tuesday.

“The Chamber’s political program will continue stronger than ever during this election season and tomorrow we will announce the next round of spending.”

Tags Kevin McCarthy Maggie Haberman

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