Senate Dems: Chamber board opposes own lobbying

Senate Dems: Chamber board opposes own lobbying
© Getty Images

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is out of step with its own board of directors on its lobbying positions in two areas, according to a new report from Senate Democrats.

A survey from a group led by Sens. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseThe Hill's Morning Report - Democrats wonder: Can Nadler handle the Trump probe? The Hill's Morning Report - Democrats wonder: Can Nadler handle the Trump probe? Democrats hope some presidential candidates drop out — and run for Senate  MORE (R.I.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenTrump hits polling on Fox News: 'Something weird going on at Fox' Trump hits polling on Fox News: 'Something weird going on at Fox' 2020 Democrats look to cut into Biden's lead with black voters MORE (Mass.) found no one on the Chamber’s board would openly endorse the organization’s positions on climate change and tobacco.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Chamber is lobbying to overturn President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. It is also working to promote the tobacco industry abroad and fight foreign laws that could hurt tobacco, the Democrats said, citing a New York Times report on the efforts.

Out of the 108 board members surveyed for the investigation, no one backed the Chamber’s stance, the Democrats said. About half of the companies represented on the board have publicly taken pro-climate or anti-tobacco positions in an apparent direct clash with the Chamber.

Nonetheless, the Chamber has publicly stated that it supports efforts to fight climate change and is not pro-tobacco.

The report aims to shame companies whose individual policies do not align with the Chamber's and points to two major companies — Apple and CVS Health — that left the group over the clashes.

“Chamber members, many of whom act commendably on their own, undermine their own efforts by affiliating with an organization that actively and aggressively undermines efforts to reduce tobacco use and tries to prevent action to address climate change,” the eight senators who backed the investigation wrote to the Chamber in a letter accompanying the report.

“By lending tacit support to an organization that has spearheaded a decades-long effort against policies to address both problems, member companies become de facto promoters of tobacco and adversaries of climate action.”

In a statement to the Times, the Chamber called the Democrats’ report a “partisan line of attack” that was “egregiously false” and recycled “old myths and tired talking points.”