Chamber: We’re Political “Reinsurance Salesmen”

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


One of the admirable things about Tom Donohue, the president of the US Chamber of Commerce, is that he can be frighteningly honest about what he does. On Charlie Rose this past Friday, he described the mission of the nation’s largest lobbying organization like this:

We said, ‘We’re going to be the reinsurance salesmen. Now, we’re never going to sell insurance, but we we’re the people that you could come to us, and when you were in trouble, and you’re another association, you couldn’t get something passed, we were the reinsurance people. You come in, and if you were our members, you were our supporters, we were going to be there for you.’

The “reinsurance” metaphor is apt in that the nation’s dirtiest industries certainly see the Chamber as too big to fail. As I explain in the January/February issue, Donohue has transformed the group from a staid business association to Washington’s most ruthless political mercenary. The Chamber allows its biggest donors to set its positions on key issues such as climate change, and it will set up a campaign promoting a company’s pet cause if it donates at least $1 million annually. In October, Donohue told the Wall Street Journal: “People have criticized us for helping industries or individual companies. What the hell do you think we do? That’s our business!” 

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate