News Release

Press Conference: Celebrating 100 Years of Secrets and Lies

National groups, small business owners call on U.S. Chamber of Commerce to disclose the sources of funds behind its dark money electoral advertising
For Immediate Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 15, 2012

CONTACT:

US PIRG: Blair Bowie, bbowie@pirg.org, (202) 546-0173
Business Ethics Network: Anne Pernick, (503)-459-6673, apernick@corpethics.org
Public Citizen: Angela Bradbery, abradbery@citizen.org, (202) 588-7741
CREW: David Merchant, dmerchant@citizensforethics.org, (202)-488-5565

***Media Advisory***

WHAT: Press Conference: One Hundred Years of Secrets and Lies:  National groups, small business owners call on U.S. Chamber of Commerce to disclose the sources of funds behind its dark money electoral advertising and to stop opposing disclosure reform.

SPEAKERS:

•    Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen
•    Melanie Collins, owner, Melanie's Home Childcare in Falmouth, Maine; Member, Maine Small Business Coalition and Main Street Alliance
•    Bryan McGannon, Deputy Policy Director, American Sustainable Business Council
•    Jeremy Miller, Policy Director, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington
•    Blair Bowie, Democracy Advocate, U.S. Public Interest Research Group
•    Nathalie Graham, Program Coordinator, Business Ethics Network
Sponsoring groups: U.S. PIRG, Public Citizen, Business Ethics Network, Main Street Alliance, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Demos, Democracy for America, People for the American Way, Common Cause, Public Campaign

GREAT VISUALS: Boxes of “money” presents from mystery corporations, boxes of petitions from grassroots organizations, large sheet cake with birthday wishes, large birthday cards, background of U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Lady Liberty Mascot

WHEN: 11:15 a.m.-12 p.m., Friday, Oct. 19

WHERE: Lafayette Square, NW Corner, across from the intersection of H and 17th Sts. NW, Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, this year’s federal elections are being saturated with unprecedented spending by outside groups, funded primarily by corporations and billionaires. While most of the campaign finance attention has been focused on super PACs, the biggest spenders are likely to be dark money non-profits that do not disclose their donors.

One of the biggest of these dark money spenders is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Despite trying to pass itself off as representing mom-and-pop small businesses, the U.S. Chamber's corporate funding has enabled it to become the second biggest outside spender to date and to pledge to spend up to $100 million in races across the country. Yet the U.S. Chamber will not disclose to the electorate the sources of its funding, denying citizens the opportunity to judge the credibility of its messaging. The U.S. Chamber exemplifies the unaccountable secret spending of the post-Citizens United landscape.

This year also marks the U.S. Chamber’s 100th anniversary. To wish it a happy birthday, on Friday Oct. 19, grassroots organizations and small business leaders will hold a rally in front of the U.S. Chamber to call on it to disclose the sources of its funding and to stop opposing disclosure reform. The organizations will deliver birthday greetings from tens of thousands of people asking the U.S. Chamber to end its role as a funnel for secret corporate money to get into our elections.

Please note that NPS does not allow tripods in Lafayette Square; shoulder-mount and handheld cameras only.

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