US Chamber of Commerce Takes A Bite out of Apple

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A day after Apple became the latest major company to quit the US Chamber of Commerce over its reactionary stance on climate change, Chamber president Tom Donohue went on the offensive, claiming Apple CEO Steve Jobs had “forfeited the opportunity to advance a 21st century approach to climate change.”

Yesterday Donohue sent a pissy letter to Jobs talking up Chamber’s efforts to “tackle climate change in a way that will strengthen our economy” and concluding that “it is a shame that Apple will not be part of our efforts.” As he often does, Donohue emphasised that the Chamber represents “more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.” It was as if to say that Apple, and not the Chamber, was on the fringe of the climate issue.

Nothing could be further from the truth. As I reported in detail today, the Chamber has offered few ways for its members to influence its policy work, and that’s especially true in the case of climate change. Interviews with current and former board members reveal that the Chamber’s leadership violated its written rules by pursuing an obstructionist approach to climate legislation without getting a vote of approval from its board or committees. And even the board–made of of huge, often petro-intensive companies–scarcely resembles the overall US business community.

On Monday, Apple’s vice president of worldwide government affairs had sent a letter to the Chamber exhorting Donohue to think different. “We strongly object to the Chamber’s recent comments opposing the EPA’s efforts to regulate greenhouse gases,” she said. “We would prefer that the Chamber take a more productive stance on this critical issue and play a constructive role in addressing the climate crisis.”

So would many environmental groups. Sensing weakness in the nation’s largest business lobby, the Natural Resources Defense Council recently launched print ads and a website asking, “Who does the Chamber represent?” Read today’s investigative piece on the Chamber for some answers.

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WHO DOESN’T LOVE A POSITIVE STORY—OR TWO?

“Great journalism really does make a difference in this world: it can even save kids.”

That’s what a civil rights lawyer wrote to Julia Lurie, the day after her major investigation into a psychiatric hospital chain that uses foster children as “cash cows” published, letting her know he was using her findings that same day in a hearing to keep a child out of one of the facilities we investigated.

That’s awesome. As is the fact that Julia, who spent a full year reporting this challenging story, promptly heard from a Senate committee that will use her work in their own investigation of Universal Health Services. There’s no doubt her revelations will continue to have a big impact in the months and years to come.

Like another story about Mother Jones’ real-world impact.

This one, a multiyear investigation, published in 2021, exposed conditions in sugar work camps in the Dominican Republic owned by Central Romana—the conglomerate behind brands like C&H and Domino, whose product ends up in our Hershey bars and other sweets. A year ago, the Biden administration banned sugar imports from Central Romana. And just recently, we learned of a previously undisclosed investigation from the Department of Homeland Security, looking into working conditions at Central Romana. How big of a deal is this?

“This could be the first time a corporation would be held criminally liable for forced labor in their own supply chains,” according to a retired special agent we talked to.

Wow.

And it is only because Mother Jones is funded primarily by donations from readers that we can mount ambitious, yearlong—or more—investigations like these two stories that are making waves.

About that: It’s unfathomably hard in the news business right now, and we came up about $28,000 short during our recent fall fundraising campaign. We simply have to make that up soon to avoid falling further behind than can be made up for, or needing to somehow trim $1 million from our budget, like happened last year.

If you can, please support the reporting you get from Mother Jones—that exists to make a difference, not a profit—with a donation of any amount today. We need more donations than normal to come in from this specific blurb to help close our funding gap before it gets any bigger.

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