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Opinion
Barry Ritholtz

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Goes for the Extreme

The group sometimes seems more like a conservative think tank than an advocate for business.
Head of the Chamber, Tom Donohue.

Head of the Chamber, Tom Donohue.

Photographer: Pete Marovich/Bloomberg

In 1912, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was created at the behest of President William Howard Taft as a business counterweight to the growing labor movement.

To say it was a success is an understatement. While organized labor has languished, the Chamber has become the single largest lobbying organization in the country. According to Open Secrets, a site that tracks political lobbying and spending, during the past 18 years the Chamber has spent three times more than any other organization on behalf of industry ($1.2 billion versus $351 million by the No. 2 lobbying group, the National Association of Realtors).