A recent story published on the website of the American Association for Justice reveals just how deeply the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is involved in the effort to eliminate one of the cornerstones of our legal system – the right to trial by jury.
The story, “Top 10 Ways the U.S. Chamber Hurts Americans” should be widely distributed to alert people to these efforts, which masquerade as arguments that the U.S. Chamber is acting in everyone’s best interests. What follows is a list of the most egregious of the Chamber’s campaigns.
1. Urges weaker financial regulation
The Chamber has advocated for weaker regulation of large financial firms for years. However, when weaker laws caused economic disaster, the Chamber was first in line to request massive bailouts.
2. Pushes weaker environmental laws and opposes laws to regulate climate change
The Chamber has vigorously advocated for weaker environmental laws and opposed those who have sounded warnings about climate change, claiming that the laws and tighter regulation of emissions weaken the business climate. However, several major corporations, including big energy companies, have resigned from the Chamber over this very issue. Clearly, the organization does not speak for all American businesses.
3. Advocates to reduce or eliminate the ability of private citizens to file lawsuits against corporations
The Chamber has spent more than $226 million in lobbying the U.S. government to reduce or eliminate the ability of citizens to hold businesses accountable for their actions. However, it is perfectly happy to join or initiate lawsuits on behalf of its corporate allies over polices that may limit corporate power.
4. Funded primarily by 16 major corporations
The organization claims to represent small businesses, but 55 percent of its funding comes from 16 giant corporations. As a result, many state and local chambers of commerce have abandoned the national organization, saying that it no longer speaks for them.
5. Represents foreign corporations at the expense of U.S. businesses
The Chamber claims to represent American business, but after foreign oil companies began contributing to the organization, the Chamber began pushing to abandon the effort to develop energy independence and reduce reliance on foreign oil. Another example of the Chamber’s fickle attachment to U.S. businesses is its relationship with Airbus, a French company in direct competition with American aviation manufacturers.
We will continue listing the ways that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce hurts ordinary people in the next blog post.
Source: American Association for Justice, “Top 10 Ways the U.S. Chamber Hurts Americans,” Oct. 24, 2012.