ThinkProgress came out with another story on Wednesday about the Chamber of Commerce’s foreign funding, indicating that the Chamber has raised at least $885,000 from corporations based overseas.
ThinkProgress, which is the blog arm of the Center for American Progress, compiled a list of corporations that are listed as members of the Chamber’s “business councils.” The business councils, based in Bahrain, India and elsewhere, are international arms of the Chamber but housed in the Chamber’s D.C. headquarters and run by Chamber staff.
Members of the councils, along with which level of membership they have, are listed on the councils’ individual web sites. Also listed are the membership dues required to the business council at each level.
Added together, according to TP, you get $885,000. You can see the full list here.
TP argues that the money goes into the Chamber’s general fund, from which it is drawing $75 million to fund thousands of ads in the midterm elections, mostly for Republican candidates. Federal election law expressly forbids using donations from foreign nationals to campaign.
But the Chamber, responding to the new story, said money from the business councils is “restricted.”
“For those business councils affiliated with us, their monies are considered ‘restricted funds’ and are held for use by those business councils,” spokesman Tom Collamore said in a statement. “They have never engaged in political activity — and they never will.”
The Chamber has not responded to requests for more details about what business council money is spent on.
Last week, the Chamber said it gets about $100,000 from AmChams, which are based outside the U.S. and have a more distant relationship with the Chamber than the business councils.
In a letter to the board of directors earlier this week, Chamber president Tom Donohue dismissed the allegations of wrongdoing and promised to “ramp up” political activity between now and Election Day.