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US Chamber of Commerce Becomes #1 'Shadow Money' Spender

Common Dreams staff

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"Shadow Money" organizations, who channel millions of dollars from undisclosed corporate donors into partisan campaign drives, refuse to relent as the 2012 election season nears the end -- least of all, the US Chamber of Commerce who pulled ahead this month as the number one non-disclosed outside money spender in 28 Senate and House of Representatives races across the country, according to Public Citizen.

The Chamber is in the top two non-disclosing outside spenders in 9 Senate and 19 House races, and is the biggest non-disclosing outside spender in 5 Senate and 10 House races, Public Citizen's new report Tipping Elections with Secret Cash? finds.

Chamber Spending includes $1.3 million and $4.4 million in seven Senate races and $500,000 or more in four additional Senate races and five House races. As of October 31, the Chamber had spent almost $32 million in outside money on congressional races.

“This year, the U.S. Chamber has committed to spend more than $100 million in our elections. The Chamber is flooding the airwaves with partisan political ads, many of them attack ads, and working to put politicians in office to advance its own corporate agenda in the next Congress,” said Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division.

“The U.S. Chamber took over $100 million in secret money from the health insurance industry in 2009-2010. Now it’s plowing millions in secret corporate money into our elections while claiming to speak for small businesses. The U.S. Chamber doesn’t speak for small businesses and it doesn’t speak for me,” said Fred Barr, owner of Barr Creative Services in Orlando, Florida and a leader with the Community Business Association of Central Florida and the Main Street Alliance.

According to a poll released by the Corporate Reform Coalition on Oct 25, 9 in 10 Americans agree that there is way too much corporate money in politics, since the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision in 2010. 76 percent of Americans support a requirement that companies publicly disclose their contributions to third-party groups like the U.S. Chamber that funnel money into elections.

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