Name:Haley Pobari and Mary Owen Date:12/10/13 Per:3 Interest Group Project ~ AP US Government & Politics ~ Mr. Tumino Complete a grid for your interest group. Name of Interest Group: U.S. Chamber of Commerce Mailing address: 1615 H Street, NW Washington, DC 20062-2000 Website address: http://www.uschamber.com/ Phone number to contact: 202-659-6000 Summarize the group’s purpose: In what ways does the group try to influence the policy process? How is the group funded? Essentially, the Chamber of Commerce exists in order to strengthen the economy through increased competition. The Chamber of Commerce website listed several areas that they have established a focus on to achieve this goal which include: Tax and entitlement reform, energy, health care, capital markets, workforce competition, infrastructure, legal reform, innovation, and regulatory reform. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce consists of more than 1,500 volunteers from member corporations, organizations, and the academic community who strive to develop and implement policy on major issues affecting the business industry. Key to this effort is the work of committees, subcommittees, task forces, and who serve voluntarily. In almost every instance, significant policy and public issue positions originate with one of these Chamber components What is the major piece of legislation that concerns the group? How closely aligned is the group aligned with one particular party/ideology? The U.S. Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) hosted its 14th Annual Legal Reform Summit to explore ways to heal the U.S. lawsuit system. The daylong summit brought together top experts to discuss legal reform’s importance to the greater business community and national economy. Participants addressed and offered remedies to various issues related to the U.S. lawsuit system, including False Claims Act reforms, litigation trends, class action loopholes, the effect of U.S.style litigation across the globe, The Chamber of Commerce is by definition and by claim bi-partisan, but many view the interest group as mainly republican. This claim comes from the contributions from the group to the republican campaign and the fact that most of the groups donors are big corporations, including oil companies, automakers, and others. Dues amounts are typically determined by the size of the member company, rather than by the number of people engaged in the chamber from that company. Some chambers have adopted pay-as-you-go or funding models based on specific categories or quantity of services provided to member companies. Occasionally, chambers will “bundle” memberships, allowing a single dues investment in one organization to qualify a company for membership in a group of chambers. This is sometimes referred to as “federation” membership and it can even extend to the national level. Chambers have other features in common. Most are led by privatesector employers, self-funded, organized around boards/committees of volunteers and independent. What were the contributions to and from this group in recent years? They gave different businesses awards, for example the corporate citizenship award, in order to promote social activism with a focus on the community, and the worlds problems. Some of the corporations that won this award were Walmart, UPS, IBM, and Citi Bank. The Chamber of Commerce also have a program called Hiring our Heroes , and awards were given for individuals leadership in helping gain employment for veterans and military personnel. and privacy in the digital age. During today’s Legal Reform Summit, the following pieces of original research will be featured. Names/politicians associated with this group Thomas J Donohue (CEO and President): in his term, Donohue has expanded the chamber and brought global influence through political lobbying. R. Bruce Josten (executive vice president of Government Affairs): is the most experienced Government and political affairs executive. He is second in power below Donohue. Give one or two important contributions (judicial, legislative, etc.) from this group. Due to Chamber lobbying and outreach, the Jumpstart our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act) was signed into law. The JOBS Act will enhance capital formation needed to build new businesses, expand existing ones, and create jobs. SEC promulgated rules on general solicitation disclosures that include investor protections. These protections are needed to avoid potential fraud and preserve efficient capital formation. The SEC and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board 3(PCAOB) acknowledged that proposed auditing standards will now have to go through a cost-benefit analysis for emerging growth companies as required by the JOBS Act. The action of the SEC and PCAOB was in response to a Chamber letter on the subject. Spend time on OpenSecrets.org reading through your interest group’s financial records. What important information did you learn? We found that even though the group is bi-partisan, 89% of their contributions are to a republican cause. Almost all, or over 99% of the donations to the interest group, come from organizations and not individuals. On the same note, over 95% of the interest group’s contributions go to the funding of 527 groups, which are again tax-exempt organizations that support political activities, instead of funding candidates.