Eliot Spitzer: Stop the US Chamber of Commerce
In a column for Slate titled "Chamber of Horrors," Eliot Spitzer, the former governor of New York, writes, “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce—the self-proclaimed voice of business in Washington—has been wrong on virtually every major public policy issue of the past decade: financial deregulation, tax and fiscal policy, global warming and environmental enforcement, consumer protection, health care reform …”
Spitzer, of course, carries his own political and personal baggage into this fight. More than a year ago he resigned following disclosure of his involvement in a high priced prostitution ring. Nevertheless, Spitzer felt compelled to address the Chamber's recalcitrance on public interest issues. He notes that the public owns the companies that support the Chamber through public pension funds and mutual funds, the largest owners of equities in the market. So citizens can – and must – apply pressure to Chamber executives on these issues.
Spitzer continues, “The elected comptrollers and treasurers who agree—as a vast majority will—that the Chamber of Commerce has a distorted view of both economic and political policy should demand that each company in which they own stock drop its membership in the Chamber. If the CEO doesn't agree, the public pension funds should pressure the board to drop the chamber membership. If one activist state comptroller begins to build this coalition, the other state pension funds will follow…. If we are passive, we permit the chamber to hijack our funds and companies to support positions antithetical to our own views. Waking pension funds and mutual funds from their slumber on this relatively easy issue might finally begin the necessary process of fixing mismanaged corporations.”
-- Suzanne Bopp