US Chamber of Commerce

US Chamber of Commerce


The U.S. Chamber of Commerce describes itself as “the world’s largest business organization representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions.” The primary focus of the U.S. Chamber is advocacy and lobbying for pro-business policies. In 2015, the chamber spent more than $80 million on lobbying efforts. [1] 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors, which it says “determine the U.S. Chamber’s policy positions on business issues and advise the U.S. Chamber on appropriate strategies to pursue,” includes representation from the fossil fuel industry such as ConocoPhillips and Consol Energy (one of the biggest coal producers in the  US), large pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer and Bayer, and the tobacco company Altria (formerly Philip Morris). [2] [3]

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce runs the Institute for 21st Century Energy, now the Global Energy Insitute, a group with the stated mission to “unify policymakers, regulators, business leaders, and the American public behind a common sense energy strategy to help keep America secure, prosperous, and clean. ” [4]

According to the institute’s president, Karen A. Harbert, the federal government “has not kept pace with the changing the [sic] landscape” and that in order to “make America a true energy superpower” the country should pursue “offshore energy development” and improve infrastructure. The institute also opposes regulations on coal, advocates eliminating subsidies for renewable energy, and has fought against the EPA. [5]

Gretchen Goldman, lead analyst for the Center for Science and Democracy, speculates about the Chamber’s lack of transparency at the Union of Concerned Scientists’ blog: [6]

“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce claims to have millions of members and represent both large and small businesses, but its membership list isn’t public and as a trade association, the group has no legal obligation to disclose its donor [sic]. With this lack of transparency we have very little information about who supports the Chamber’s anti-science position on climate change and who funds its efforts to block policies that would address it. As a result, the Chamber can use its vast resources to influence public policy without any accountability for those behind it.

Are the Chamber’s members in agreement with this climate policy and simply using the group to do their bidding without company affiliation (and potential reputational damage)? Or is the Chamber’s climate agenda controlled by a handful of powerful companies while the majority of members disagree? Without greater transparency around the political activities of companies and trade associations, we don’t know.”

The U.S. Chamber was a member of the Global Climate Coalition (GCC) before it disbanded in 2002. GCC was an industry group opposing policies that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, early members included Amoco, the American Forest & Paper Association, American Petroleum Institute (API), Chevron, Chrysler, Cyprus AMAX MineralsExxonFordGeneral MotorsShell OilTexaco, and more than 40 other corporations and trade associations[101], [102]

Allegations and Complaints

In September 2010, two watchdog groups, U.S. Chamber Watch and, filed complaints (PDF) with the Internal Revenue Service asking it to investigate the chamber for fraud and money laundering. They alleged the chamber illegally funneled donations from wealthy charitable foundation Starr Foundation into its political battles. [7]

Chamber Watch also said $12 million of an $18 million donation that Starr Foundation gave to the National Chamber Foundation were in loans that had not been repaid by the chamber. Chamber Watch also said this money had been diverted to political causes that would shield companies like AIG from liability lawsuits. 

Sourcewatch notes that the Starr foundation includes a number of connections to AIG including founder Cornelius Vander Starr, who also founded AIG. The foundation’s Chairman of the Board of Directors is Maurice R. Greenberg, former President and CEO of AIG. The Foundation’s Director (and Treasurer) Howard I. Smith was also AIG‘s former Chief Financial Officer. says it was contacted by a chamber whistleblower who described (PDF) how chamber CEO Tom Donohue is “scamming [business] clients to serve his own interests rather than the interests of the business community.” [8]

Stance on Climate Change


According to theU.S. Chamber Policy Priorities for 2017,” the group promises to fight against efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. [84]

Under the “Air Quality Regulation” category, the Chamber promises to “Oppose efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions through existing environmental statutes, including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act.”


From the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s “Institute for 21st Century Energy”:

“A deeper understanding of the issues and developing science associated with the environment and climate change will influence national and global energy, economic, and environmental policy choices. Balancing these priorities requires greater consideration of the complex processes driving climate change and increased attention to adaptation measures. We must increase our investment in climate science, which will enable us to adjust policies as scientific understanding advances. At the federal level, we need better coordination and collaboration across agencies for policy coherence and balance.” [10]


During a hearing in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Bob Menendez asked the Chamber’s Karen Harbert whether the US Chamber of Commerce agrees that climate change is real and caused by humans. After being repeatedly pressed by Menendez for a direct response, Harbert admitted that “The climate is warming, without a doubt,” however she claimed the science was not settled as to whether it is caused by human activites: [9]

“It is caused by lots of different things, and you can’t say that climate change is only caused by humans,” Harbert said. “I think the science is what you’re pointing to, and we have a robust debate going on in this country, as we should, and those that would say everything is settled sort of undercut the integrity of science. It’s an ongoing discussion.”


The Chamber described its strategy on climate change as follows:

“Resist ill-conceived legislation that is economically disruptive of business and industry activities, that creates regulatory and legislative obstacles to development and deployment of affordable, innovative energy technologies, and that could severely damage the security and economy of the United States.” [11]

2009 (Internal Dissension)

Described as a “predictably stalwart opponent of climate change legislation,” some of the US Chamber of Commerce’s own members began opposing its views on climate change including Johnson & Johnson and Nike. [12], [13]

“We would appreciate if statements made by the Chamber would reflect the full range of views, especially those of Chamber members advocating for congressional action,” Clifford Holland, Johnson & Johnson’s corporate vice president of government affairs and policy, wrote in an April 16 letter. 

Bill Kovacs, the Chamber’s vice president for the environment, technology, and regulatory affairs, tried to sweep aside the issue, saying “At the end of the debate, there were no members asking to change our policy.” [14]

Jeanette Pablo, an executive with PNM Resources, recounted events differently

“In my opinion it is inaccurate to call it a debate, and it is especially inaccurate to say that there was no call for changes to the policy when there were a number of members who stated the chamber policy did not represent their corporate position and they were therefore interested in how to change that policy,” Pablo said. [15]

Stance on Coal

“Coal is an indispensable foundation of the U.S. energy mix. But the EPA has begun issuing a rash of new regulations that are making it difficult to operate coal plants and virtually impossible to build a new ones. […] Steps should be taken to limit the harm from new and proposed rules that aim to curtail the use of one of our most abundant and secure sources of energy, ultimately harming businesses, consumers and the overall economy.” [16]

Stance on Renewables

“While these forms of energy face challenges of cost and reliability, over time, additional research and development will bring prices down and deliver more reliable power—ultimately providing more clean energy to Americans. The government must phase out subsidies and reform its policies, which have fallen out of sync with the realities of their supply and the operation of power markets.” [17]

Stance on Nuclear

“Nuclear energy is a key source of electric power and has operated safely in the United States for decades, with no emissions. […] Even with these benefits in mind and the clear need for nuclear energy as a safe, reliable and affordable source of electricity, the government has created barriers for new construction and jeopardized existing plants.” [18]

Stance on Fracking, Offshore Drilling, and the EPA

“The combination of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have unlocked vast shale energy resources that were not even known to us a few years ago. These resources have already improved our economy by creating jobs, spurring manufacturing, and forcing us to shift from a mindset of energy scarcity to energy opportunity.

Unfortunately, the federal government has not kept pace with the changing the landscape. There’s so much more than can be done to make America a true energy superpower, from expanding offshore energy development to improving our infrastructure to better move electricity.

Not only have our policies not been updated, but the EPA is on a long march toward regulating almost all aspects of our economy, placing our global competitiveness at risk. ” [5]


In 2010, the New York Times reported that half of the Chamber’s $140 million in contributions for 2008 had come from just 45 donors: [19]

“[T]he chamber has had little trouble finding American companies eager to enlist it, anonymously, to fight their political battles and pay handsomely for its help. […] the chamber makes no apologies for its policy of not identifying its donors. It has vigorously opposed legislation in Congress that would require groups like it to identify their biggest contributors when they spend money on campaign ads.”

Some funders highlighted in the New York Times article include: [19]

As it is not required to disclose its donors, the precise funding values of the US Chamber of Commerce are unclear. The following is a brief summary based on available data compiled by the Conservative Transparency project, and only a small sample of the full funding received by the Chamber. [20]

View the attached spreadsheet for additional information on the US Chamber of Commerce’s funding by year (.xlsx). Note that Conservative Transparency data does not specify if funding was to the US Chamber or US Chamber Foundation. Not all funding values have been verified by DeSmog.

Crossroads GPS$5,250,000
Freedom Partners$5,000,000
Dow Chemical Company$4,573,750
Exxon Mobil$3,000,000
Intel Corporation$1,233,583
American Electric Power$1,025,000
Prudential Financial$600,000
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation$500,000
Exelon Corporation$250,000
Norfolk Southern$100,000
American Petroleum Institute$100,000
John Deere$55,000
Edison Electric Institute$50,000
Reynolds American$45,000
CIGNA Foundation$10,000
National Christian Charitable Foundation$2,500
Grand Total$32,496,335

US Chamber of Commerce 990 Forms

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

The affiliated U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation describes itself as ”[A] nonprofit affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce dedicated to strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness and educating the public on how the Free Enterprise system improves society and the economy.” [21]

The Commerce Foundation runs under the EIN 46-1561597. See publicly-available IRS 990 forms below:


OpenSecrets reports that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its subsidiaries spent nearly $104 Million on lobbying efforts in 2016, with a combined total of $1,369,025,680 since 1998. Notably, the CGCN Group, for which Donald Trump’s top energy policy aide Mike Catanzaro has worked, was a lobbyist for the U.S. Chamber as recently as 2017. [22], [121]

YearLobbying Expenditures
2018 (Ongoing) 

OpenSecrets also breaks down the US Chamber’s lobbying by bill and by issue.

Key People

Senior Management Committee

Agnes Warfield-BlancYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYSenior Vice President, Development
David HirschmannYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYPresident and CEO, Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness (CCMC). President and CEO, Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC). Senior Vice President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Lisa RickardYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYPresident, U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform. President, Workforce Freedom Initiative. Executive Vice President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Stan HarrellYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYSenior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Information Officer
Thomas J. DonohueYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYPresident and CEO
Thomas J. Collamore     YYYYYYYYYYExecutive Vice President and Counselor to the President
Karen Alderman Harbert      YYYYYYYYYPresident and Chief Executive Officer
Myron Brilliant      YYYYYYYYYExecutive Vice President and Head of International Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Rob Engstrom        YYYYYYYSenior Vice President, Political Affairs & Federation Relations. National Political Director
Jack Howard         YYYYYYSenior Vice President, Congressional and Public Affairs
John G. Murphy          YYYYYSenior Vice President for International Policy
Suzanne ClarkYYYY       YYYYSenior Executive Vice President
Christopher D. Roberti             YYChief of Staff and Senior Vice President, Cyber, Intelligence, and Security Division
Khush Choksy             YYSenior Vice President, Middle East and Turkey Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Neil Bradley             YYExecutive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer
Rob Schroder             YYSenior Vice President, International Strategy and Operations
Scott Eisner             YYPresident, U.S.-Africa Business Center. Sr. Vice President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Carolyn Cawley              YPresident, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, and Vice President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Charles Freeman              YSenior Vice President, Asia
Glenn Spencer              YSenior Vice President, Employment Policy Division
Justin Waller              YSenior Vice President, Operations, and Chief Marketing Officer
Shannon DiBari    YYYYYYYYYY Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President
Lily Fu Claffee        YYYYYY Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer & General Counsel. Executive Vice President, U.S. Chamber Litigation Center
Randy Johnson         YYYYY Senior Vice President, Labor, Immigration and Employee Benefits
William Kovacs         YYYYY Senior Vice President, Environment, Technology & Regulatory Affairs
Ann Beauchesne            YY Senior Vice President, National Security and Emergency Preparedness Department, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Jodi Bond             Y Senior Vice President, Americas
Tami Overby             Y Senior Vice President, Asia. President, U.S.-Korea Business Council
R. Bruce JostenYYYYYYYYYYYYY  Executive Vice President, Government Affairs
Amanda Engstrom       YYYYYY  President, Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation; Senior Vice President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce; and Senior Vice President, U.S. Chamber Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness
John Sullivan         YYYY  Executive Director, Center for International Private Enterprise
Marty Regalia         YYYY  Senior Vice President and Chief Economist
Carl GrantYYYYYYYYYYYY   Chairman of the President’s Advisory Group
James RobinsonYYYYYYYYYYYY   Senior Vice President and Counselor to the President
David C. Chavern    YYYYYYY    Executive Vice President and President, Center for Advanced Technology & Innovation
Al Martinez-Fonts         YY    Executive Vice President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation
John R. McKernan Jr.         YY    Senior Adviser to the President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation
Rolf LundbergYYYYYYYYY      Senior Vice President, Congressional and Public Affairs
William C. Miller Jr.    YYYY       Senior Vice President, Political Affairs & Federation Relations and National Political Director
Daniel W. Christman YYYYYY        Senior Vice President, International Affairs
Arthur J. Rothkopf   YYYY        Senior Vice President and Counselor to the President
Steven J. Law    YYY        Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel
James L. Jones    YY         President and Chief Executive Officer
Linda Rozett    Y          Chief of Staff and Senior Vice President of Communications
Stanton AndersonYYYY           Senior Counsel to President
John (J.P.) Moery  YY           Senior Vice President, Federation Relations
Stephen A. Bokat  YY           Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary

Board of Directors

The US Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors represent a wide range of companies with representation from energy companies, coal/oil/natural gas producers, pharmaceutical companies, chemical manufacturers, and the tobacco industry (see below). [3]

According to Chamber’s website, “Directors determine the U.S. Chamber’s policy positions on business issues and advise the U.S. Chamber on appropriate strategies to pursue.” [2]

View the attached spreadsheet for more information and a listing of US Chamber Board membership by both organization individual (.xslx)

Name2016[3]20172018Job DescriptionCompany
Adam CooperYYYSenior Managing Director and Chief Legal Officer (Retired)Citadel LLC
Adena Friedman  YPresident and Chief Executive OfficerNasdaq, Inc.
Andrew AbboudYYYSenior Vice President, Government RelationsLas Vegas Sands Corp.
Andrew D. LundquistYYYSenior Vice President, Government AffairsConocoPhillips
Anthony J. AllottYYYPresident and Chief Executive OfficerSilgan Holdings Inc.
Arnold Baker YYChief Executive OfficerBaker Environmental / BRM Concrete
Boland T. JonesY  Founder, Chairman and  Chief Executive OfficerPGi
Brackett Denniston III YYSenior CounselGoodwin Procter LLP
Bradley M. HalversonYYYGroup President and Chief Financial OfficerCaterpillar Inc.
Brandon W. SweitzerYY Senior AdvisorDryStone Capital LLC
Brian O’HaraY YChairmanFront Street Advisors, Ltd.
Bruce A. GatesYY Senior Vice President, External AffairsAltria Client Services
Bruce Culpepper  YPresidentShell Oil Company
C. Clayton ReasorY  Executive Vice President Investor Relations, Strategy Corporate and Government AffairsPhillips 66
C. Howard NyeYYYChairman, President and Chief Executive OfficerMartin Marietta Materials
C.A. HowlettYY PrincipalIndigo Partners, LLC
Charles CopelandYYYPresidentAssociates International, Inc.
Charles J. KalilYYYExecutive Vice President and General CounselThe Dow Chemical Company
Charles R. Stamp, Jr.YYYVice-President, Corporate Strategy & Business DevelopmentDeere & Company
Chris Clark  YPresident and Chief Executive OfficerGeorgia Chamber of Commerce
Christel SlaughterYYYPartnerSSA Consultants
Christopher B. LofgrenYYYPresident and Chief Executive OfficerSchneider National, Inc.
Christopher C. WomackYY Executive Vice President & President-External AffairsSouthern Company
Chuck BrymerYYYPresident and Chief Executive OfficerDDB Worldwide Communications Group, Inc.
Craig L. FullerYYYChairmanThe Fuller Company
Cynthia StingerYY Group Chief Executive, Government RelationsAECOM Technology Corporation
Daniel Abdun-Nabi  YPresident and Chief Executive OfficerEmergent BioSolutions
Daniel F. PackerY    
Darlene M. MillerY  President and CEOPERMAC Industries
David JacobsonYYYVice ChairmanBMO Financial Group
David R. EmeryY  Chairman, President and Chief Executive OfficerBlack Hills Corporation
David T. SeatonYYYChairman and Chief Executive OfficerFluor Corporation
Dayton H. MolendorpYYYBoardOneAmerica Financial Partners, Inc.
Donald J. ShepardYYYChairman (Retired)AEGON N.V.
Douglas Cifu  YChief Executive OfficerVirtu Financial
Edgar L. Smith, Jr.Y  Chairman & CEOWorld Pac Paper, LLC
Edward B. Rust, Jr.YYYChairman (Retired)State Farm Insurance Companies
Edward McCoy YYPresident and Chief Executive OfficerEaheart Industrial Service Inc.
Edward WanandiYYYChairmanInternational Merchants, LLC
Elaine R. LeavenworthYYYSenior Vice President, Chief Marketing and External Affairs OfficerAbbott
Elanna S. YalowYYYChief Academic OfficerKinderCare Education
Elliot J. Jaffee YYExecutive Vice President and Head of Commercial BankingU.S. Bank
Eric SilagyYYYPresident and Chief Executive OfficerFlorida Power & Light Company
Ernest Green, Jr.Y  President and CEOE&E Enterprises Global, Inc.
Frank C. SullivanYYYChairman and Chief Executive OfficerRPM International Inc.
Frank L. VanderSlootYYYChief Executive OfficerMelaleuca, Inc.
Fred KaiserYYYChairmanAlpha Technologies, Inc.
Frederick KempeYYYPresident and Chief Executive OfficerAtlantic Council
Fuad El-HibriY  Executive ChairmanEmergent BioSolutions Inc.
Gene Barr YYPresident and Chief Executive OfficerPennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry
George Nichols III YYExecutive Vice Preisdent in charge of the Office of Governmental AffairsNew York Life
Gerald L. ShaheenYY  FORD Motor Company
Greg LebedevYYYSenior AdvisorThe Robertson Foundation
Gregory IraceYYYPresident & EO (Retired)Sanofi US Services Inc.
H.P. GoldfieldYYYVice ChairmanAlbright Stonebridge Group (ASG)
Hank LinginfelterYYYExecutive Vice President, Distribution OperationsAGL Resources Inc.
Harold Turner, Jr.Y  President and CEOThe H.L. Turner Group Inc.
Harry C. AlfordYYYPresident and Chief Executive OfficerNational Black Chamber of Commerce
Heather Wingate Y SVP and Head of Global Government RelationsMetLife
Hector BarretoY YChairmanThe Latino Coalition
J. Thomas Hill YYChairman, President and CEOVulcan Materials Company
James A. HixonY  Executive Vice President, Law and Corporate RelationsNorfolk Southern Corporation
James Carroll YYSenior Vice President, Government RelationsHoneywell
James E. StephensonYYYChairman, President, and Chief Executive OfficerYancey Bros. Co.
James M. PowerYYYExecutive Vice President, CommercialCUNA Mutual Group
James Schenck  YPresident and Chief Executive OfficerPenFed Credit Union
James W. CicconiYY Senior Executive Vice President External and Legislative AffairsAT&T, Inc.
James W. MendenhallYYYPresidentMendenhall & Associates
Jan L. Jones BlackhurstYYYExecutive Vice President, Public Policy and Corporate ResponsibilityCaesars Entertainment Corporation
Jeffrey K. RagethY  Vice President, Business Affairs3M
Jessie J. Knight, Jr.YYYManaging DirectorKnight Angels
Jim Brady YYChief Operating OfficerGrant Thornton
Joan WoodwardY  Executive Vice President for Public Policy; PresidentThe Travelers Companies, Inc.; Travelers Institute
John CannonY  Executive Vice President & Chief Administrative OfficerHealth Care Service Corporation
John E. Gallina YYExecutive Vice President and Chief Financial OficerAnthem, Inc.
John F. BiagasYYYPresident and Chief Executive OfficerBay Electric Co., Inc.
John L. HopkinsYYYChairman and Chief Executive OfficerNuScale Power LLC
John Minge YYChairman and PresidentBP America Inc.
John Ruan IIIYY Chairman and /or CEOBTC Financial Corporation, Ruan Transportation Mnagement Systems, and Ruan, Incorporated.
John Scheib  YExecutive Vice President, Law & Administration and Chief Legal OfficerNorfolk Southern Corporation
John W. BachmannYYYSenior PartnerEdward Jones
Jon Lindekugel  YSenior Vice President, Supply Chain3M
Joseph B. UcuzogluYYYChairman and Chief Executive OfficerDeloitte & Touche LLP
Joseph W. Craft IIIYYYPresident and Chief Executive OfficerAlliance Resource Partners, L.P.
Kane CalamariYY Vice President – Human Resources, Communications and Organizational DevelopmentAce Hardware Corporation
Karen M. Olson BeenkenYYYPresident and Chief Executive OfficerBlue Rock Companies
Kathy G. BeckettYYYMemberSteptoe & Johnson PLLC
Ken W. ColeYYYSenior Vice President Government RelationsPfizer, Inc.
Kevin Clifford  YChairman and Chief Executive OfficerAmerican Funds
Kevin Warren  YExecutive Vice President, Chief Commercial OfficerXerox Corporation
Kim T. RumphY  President, CHEP North AmericaBrambles Limited
Lance M. FritzYYYChairman, President and Chief Executive OfficerUnion Pacific Corporation
Lane BeattieY  President and Chief Executive OfficerSalt Lake Chamber
Laura LaneYYYPresident, Global Public AffairsUnited Parcel Service
Lee R. Anderson, Sr.YYYChairman of the BoardAPi Group, Inc.
LeRoy Walker, Jr.YY President and CEOLTM Enterprises
Lisa Flavin YYVice President, Audit and Chief Compliance OfficerEmerson Electric Company
Manuel Perez de la MesaY  President and CEOPool Corporation
Mark D. FrenchY  PresidentLeading Authorities, Inc.
Mark E. Watson IIIYYYPresident and Chief Executive OfficerArgo Group International Holdings Limited
Mark S. OrdanYYYChief Executive OfficerQuality Care Properties, Inc.
Martin H. RichenhagenYYYChairman, President and Chief Executive OfficerAGCO Corporation
Matthew K. RoseYYYExecutive ChairmanBNSF Railway Company
Maura W. DonahueYYYPresidentDonahueFavret Contractors Holding Company
Maxine Turner YYFounderCuisine Unlimited Catering & Special Events
Michael Flannigan YYSenior Vice President, Global Governmental AffairsPeabody Energy
Michael J. GraffY  Chairman and Chief Executive OfficerAmerican Air Liquide Holdings, Inc.
Michael L. DuckerYYYPresident and Chief Executive OfficerFedEx Freight
Michelle H. BrowdyYYYSenior Vice President, Legal and Regulatory Affairs and General CounselInternational Business Machines
Mick TruittYY Vice President of SalesLudlum Measurements, Inc
Nicholas J. DeIuliisY  President and CEOCONSOL Energy, Inc.
Norman C. ChambersY  Chairman, President and Chief Executive OfficerNCI Building Systems, Inc.
Patricia ElizondoY  Senior Vice President, Global Sales & Marketing, Transportation and Public SectorXerox Corporation
Patrick M. FinkenY  PresidentOdney
Paul J. KlaassenY YFounderSunrise Senior Living, Inc.
Paul S. SperanzaYYYVice Chairman, General Counsel and Secretary (Retired)Wegmans Food Markets, Inc.
Paul W. JonesYY Retired Chairman and CEOA.O. Smith Corporation
Paula Johnson  YExecutive Vice President, Legal & Government Affairs, General Counsel & Corporate SecretaryPhillips 66
Philip D. KennedyY  PresidentComanche Lumber Co., Inc.
Phillip May YYPresident and Chief Executive OfficerEntergy Louisiana, LLC
Rajendra SinghYYYChairman and Chief Executive OfficerTelcom Ventures, L.L.C.
Ralph de la TorreYYYChairman and Chief Executive OfficerSteward Health Care System LLC
Rance C. MilesYYYChief Operating Officer and Chief Financial OfficerSelect Milk Producers, Inc.
Randal K. QuarlesYY Managing PartnerThe Cynosure Group
Raymond F. Kerins, Jr.YYYSenior Vice President and Head of Communications & Government RelationsBayer Corporation
Raymond Wagner  YSenior Vice President Government and Public AffairsEnterprise Holdings
Richard H. BaggerYYYCorporate Affairs & Market AccessCelgene Corporation
Richard J. TobinYY President & CEOCNH Industrial N.V.
Richard K. StudleyYYYPresident and Chief Executive OfficerMichigan Chamber of Commerce
Richard L. McNeelY  Board of DirectorsLORD Corporation
Robert D. FatovicYYYExecutive Vice President Chief Legal Officer and Corporate SecretaryRyder System, Inc.
Robert O. AgbedeYYYPresident and CEOChester Group
Robert S. MilliganYY ChairmanWood Stieper Capital Group
Robert W. Quinn Y Senior Executive Vice PresidentAT&T, Inc.
Scott AndersonYY General ManagerGreat Western Lodging
Scott L. Holman, Sr.Y  Chairman EmeritusThe Bay Cast Companies
Sean Finn YYExecutive Vice President, Corporate Services and Chief Legal OfficerCanadian National Railway
Stephen Johnson  YExecutive Vice President, Corporate AffairsAmerican Airlines
Steve Van AndelYYYChairmanAmway
Steven Davis Y Corporate Group President of UtilitiesSempra Energy
Stewart AlvarezY YVice President, Commercial Development and Industry AffairsAmadeus North America
Susan K. NeelyYY President & CEOAmerican Beverage Association
Suzanne SitherwoodY  President & CEOThe Laclede Group
Tamara L. LundgrenYYYPresident and Chief Executive OfficerSchnitzer Steel Industries, Inc.
Thomas D. Bell, Jr.YYYChairmanMesa Capital Partners, LLC
Thomas J. DonohueYYYPresident and Chief Executive OfficerU.S. Chamber of Commerce
Thomas J. WilsonYYYChairman and Chief Executive OfficerAllstate Insurance Company
Thomas V. McKernanY  Chairman of the BoardAutomobile Club of Southern California
Tracy G. SchmidtYYYEnterprise Chief Financial Officer and Group President, Credit InvestmentsCNL Financial Group
Wayne S. DeVeydtY  Executive Vice President and Chief Financial OfficerAnthem, Inc.
William G. LittleYYYChairmanQuam-Nichols Company, Inc.
Wolfgang G. PordzikY  Executive Vice President, Corporate Public PolicyDHL

Global Energy Institute / Center for 21st Century Energy Staff

Christopher GuithYYYYYYYYActing president and CEO as of March 2019, set to replace Karen Alderman Harbert [128]
Karen Alderman HarbertYYYYYYYYPresident and Chief Executive Officer. Leaving US Chamber as of 2019 [128]
Stephen EuleYYYYYYYYVice President for Climate & Technology
Matt Letourneau YYYYYYYManaging Director of Communications and Media
Heath Knakmuhs  YYYYYYSenior Director for Policy
Matthew Koch  YYYYYYVice President
Susan Forrester  YYYYYYManaging Director
Dan Byers   YYYYYVice President, Policy
Colin Finnegan       YAssociate Manager, Communications & Outreach
Kara Conrad       YAssociate Manager, Operations and Administration
Leila Getto  YYYY  Senior Director, Fundraising and Member Relations
Sara Swabb   Y    manager of operations and communications
Alyssa Cherif Oakley  Y     Manager of communications, strategy and operations
Charlie CoonYY      Executive Director of Policy
Frederick C. SmithYY      Vice President
Megan Bloomgren Y      Executive Director of Strategy
James L. JonesY       President and Chief Executive Officer
Martin CoyneY       Director of Communications and Media
Megan BarnettY       Executive Director of Strategy
Sarah FarnsworthY       Chief of Staff


June 2021

A report by Brown University’s Climate and Development Lab reviewed chamber pronouncements from 1989-2009 and found the US Chamber of Commerce to be a “a powerful force in obstructing climate action.” [129], [130]

According to the report’s executive summary, “The United States Chamber of Commerce has been a central actor in the national and global countermovement against ambitious action on climate change.” [129]

It concludes: [129]

“[The U.S. Chamber] has funded, led, and participated in the Climate Change Countermovement network, contributed to developing and deploying climate misinformation, and today remains one of the most powerful institutions in Washington. In other words, the challenge that the Chamber poses to climate action in 2021 has once again changed form, rather than disappeared.”

InsideClimateNews highlighted how one of the Chamber’s most notable ties was to the Global Climate Coalition (GCC), a group that aggressively lobbied against emissions reductions and pushed the Bush administration to pull out of the Kyoto Protocol. [130]

Cole Triedman, a research graduate at Brown University and author of the report, also noted the Chamber worked with Partnership for a Better Energy Future, which “was completely dedicated to fighting Obama’s Clean Power Plan.” [130]

March 15, 2019

Karen Harbert, formerly President and Chief Executive Officer of the US Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, went on to work as president and CEO of the American Gas Association. Commenting on the Green New Deal, Harbert said: “The idea in the next 12 years we will be 100 percent fossil fuel free really damages the conversation because it’s so unrealistic,”  The Washington Examiner reported. [128]

May 2017

DeSmog reported that “Your Energy America” a then-newly-formed front group pushing for the Dominion Energy’s Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline, was a sponsor of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Energy and Sustainability Conference. [88]

An anonymous source who attended the conference spoke with DeSmog, and noted that he had seen Ryan Lowry, DDC’s Vice President of Client Relations, wearing a Your Energy Virginia name badge at the event. Short for Democracy, Data & Communications, DDC is a PR firm behind Your Energy America. A 2007 client list obtained by DeSmog shows that DDC also had the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as an early client. [89]

March 2017

The U.S Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy was a co-sponsor of a report by National Economic Research Associates (NERA) Economic Consulting cited by President Donald Trump to support his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement. [90]

The report, titled “Impacts of Greenhouse Gas Regulations On the Industrial Sector,” was prepared for the American Council for Capital Formation (ACCCF) and concludes that “Regulatory measures are an inefficient way to achieve climate goals.” [91]

Archived records at the the Truth Tobacco Industry Documents Library reveal that NERA has a history of working with the tobacco industry including Philip Morris and the Tobacco Institute. [92], [93]

January 26, 2017

As reported by Dave Anderson at the Energy and Policy Institute and at DeSmog, The U.S. Chamber’s Christopher Guith, senior vice president for policy at the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, spoke at a January 26th event in Kentucky. Guith described concerns about climate change as based on “religion” — not “scientific facts.” [85], [86], [87]

Below is a transcript of Guith’s comments, captured by a representative of the Energy and Policy Institute who attended the event: [85]

Transcript: “hell to pay” if Trump targets EPA’s endangerment finding for greenhouse gas emissions

Audience Question: You mentioned the endangerment finding earlier. There’s some thought that revisiting the science behind the endangerment finding, which you probably know was highly dependent on the IPCC models, and that enough time has now passed to potentially argue that the models the IPCC came up with have flaws and need to be revisited. Is there any momentum behind that thought?

Guith: I think there absolutely is momentum, but the one thing I’ll say is that rescinding the endangerment finding, and this is something Ted Cruz talked about quite a bit when he ran for president.

I think people here can appreciate how much political capital that would cost. It’s not … climate has never been, well at least in the last 10 years, about scientific fact. It’s been about religion.

And if you are going to go out there and say, “We’re going to pull this back,” I mean there is going to be hell to pay, not just from those people out there who are protesting those plants.

There’s going to be hell to pay from, you know, soccer moms and soccer dads all throughout the country. People who probably voted for Donald Trump. [emphasis added]

And I don’t put that past them, but what I will say is that will turn into a huge, huge buzzsaw, when perhaps a more elegant solution of slow-rolling the implementation would be only slightly more onerous that actually rescinding that, but would take much less political capital.

Transcript: Carbon likely to be regulated under the Clean Air Act

Guith: This goes back to my point about Congress actually repealing the Clean Power Plan. I firmly believe that sometime in the next 10 years we are going to see another stage of Clean Air Act Amendments, and that’s ultimately because we’re sort of at this the point where carbon is not going to go away.

Because of the endangerment finding it has to get regulated, unless Congress actually repeals that. And I don’t see a Congress saying, “No we’re not going to regulate carbon” because I don’t think there’s the votes there, nor do I anticipate it being there.

The reality is there is an absolute incentive for the environmentalists to cut a compromise because they need some sort of codified regulation. Right now you have the sort of fiat of the Clean Power Plan, and you’ll see what happens when the White House changes over and it’ll just “Thpppt!” … go away. Or you have one bad court ruling, and it just goes away.

Also, you have industry. Industry, utilities specifically wants to know, “What are the rules of the road going to be over the 20 years?” And so having that certainty of what it’s going to look like, there is something in it from both parties.

And I think there is a way to build CO2 into the Clean Air Act. I am not necessarily arguing that we should do it, but it’s likely to happen in an incremental way that gives the utility sector and the manufacturing sector decades and decades to plan around.

But it’s not going to happen this Congress.

December 2016

The U.S. Chamber reported that it might challenge President Barack Obama’s offshore drilling ban, CNBC reported. [118] 

“It is absolutely accurate to say we’re considering it,” Christopher Guith, senior vice president of policy for the Chamber’s Global Energy Institute/Institute for 21st Century Energy.

“There’s no rush right now. It’s just trying to figure out sequentially what works best and what the bandwidth is,” he said. “These sorts of decisions happen over long periods of time. It’s more about getting the policy right than trying to rush to the courthouse.”

June 15, 2016

Grist magazine reports that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the latest conservative group to spread anti-solar messages. In an email, the Chamber opposes net metering, a policy that pays back people who are feeding solar power back into the grid from solar panels. [69]

While your neighbor is receiving a credit (in the form of a reduced electricity bill) for putting excess energy back on the electricity grid, these outdated net metering policies overlook the costs to use, maintain, and update the grid. So, who is actually paying those costs? You — and everyone else!” The U.S. Chamber email reads. [69]

The Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy also posted a video to its YouTube channel on their anti-net-metering case: [69]

June 14, 2016

A Senate report from Senate Democrats including Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders found that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s “lobbying is at odds with its own public positions,” The New York Times reports. [60]

The Senate report found that none of the U.S. Chamber’s 108 board members explicitly supported the group’s policies on tobacco and climate change. While the Chamber “strongly professes that it is anti-tobacco” and has claimed to support “efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” it continued to work globally to fight antismoking measures and opposed the EPA‘s regulatory measures on climate change. [60][61]

The Senate report also found many of the board members had opposing views to the Chamber: “Approximately half of the companies on the chamber’s board of directors have adopted anti-tobacco and pro-climate positions that contrast sharply with the chamber’s activities. Not a single board member explicitly supported the chamber’s lobbying efforts.” [60]

Members are often left in the dark about the Chamber’s activities. Ten companies serving on the board said they “had no knowledge of or input into the chamber’s lobbying activities on tobacco or climate issues.” [60]

The New York Times previously reported on the Chamber’s efforts to combat President Obama’s climate change regulations. The chamber’s strategy included regular meetings with corporate lawyers, coal lobbyists, and Republican political strategists. [62]

May 18, 2016

Tim Huelskamp co-sponsored the “Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2016,” or H.R. 4775, a bill that would delay implementation of the Clean Air Act’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) program. [114], [115]

The U.S. Chamber wrote a letter of support for the bill, describing it as “a common-sense plan that maintains continued air quality improvement without unnecessarily straining state and local economic resources.” [116]

In opposition, the The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) wrote that the bill was “one of the most irresponsible compilations of attacks on Clean Air Act health standards ever to be introduced in Congress.” [117]

February 22, 2016

The US Chamber of Commerce filed an opening brief against the EPA‘s Clean Power Plan. [23]

“We are confident in our case, and the sheer number and diversity of challengers in this case is itself a powerful statement against EPA’s overreach,” said Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy in the Chamber’s press release.

The brief argues that the EPAs Rule “unlawfully attempts to radically transform the electric sector and usurp states’ traditional authority over the electric grid.”

The US Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy also released the graphic below (click to view full size):

February 2, 2016

Steve Eule of the Chamber of Commerce was a witness at a hearing to  “examine the various scientific, economic and other policy issues” following the Paris Climate Agreement hosted by Lamar Smith’s Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Witnesses also included noted climate change skeptic John Christy and Steven Groves of The Heritage Foundation[120]

Listen to a portion of Eule’s interview below, as well as his written testimony online:

December 23, 2015

The U.S. Chamber filed a lawsuit challenging the EPA‘s new Ozone Standard. [24]

“The EPA set an unattainable mandate with this new ozone standard that will slow economic growth opportunities,” said William Kovacs, senior vice president, Environment, Technology & Regulatory Affairs for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. 

According to their press release, the Chamber told local communities that “a lower ozone standard would threaten local jobs and economic growth” with efforts including panel discussions with government officials, business leaders and local Chambers of Commerce.

June 13, 2016

The US Chamber of Commerce was listed as a creditor in Peabody Energy’s 2016 bankruptcy filings, reports the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD/PRWatch). [65]

While the available bankruptcy documents do not list the scale or dates of funding, they outline Peabody Energy’s financial ties to a large network of groups promoting climate change denial. [66]

Prominent individuals appearing in the documents include climate deniers Willie SoonRichard LindzenRoy Spencer and Richard Berman. The long list of organizations also includes groups such as Americans for ProsperityAmerican Legislative Exchange CouncilCFACTInstitute for Energy ResearchState Policy Network, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and dozens more. [67]

The Guardian also analysed and reported on the Peabody bankruptcy findings: [68]

These groups collectively are the heart and soul of climate denial,” said Kert Davies, founder of the Climate Investigation Center, who has spent 20 years tracking funding for climate denial. “It’s the broadest list I have seen of one company funding so many nodes in the denial machine.”

The company’s filings reveal funding for a range of organisations which have fought Barack Obama’s plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and denied the very existence of climate change. […]

Among Peabody’s beneficiaries, the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change has insisted – wrongly – that carbon emissions are not a threat but “the elixir of life” while the American Legislative Exchange Council is trying to overturn Environmental Protection Agency rules cutting emissions from power plants. Meanwhile, Americans for Prosperity campaigns against carbon pricing. The Oklahoma chapter was on the list. […]

The breadth of the groups with financial ties to Peabody is extraordinary. Thinktanks, litigation groups, climate scientists, political organisations, dozens of organisations blocking action on climate all receiving funding from the coal industry,” said Nick Surgey, director of research for the Center for Media and Democracy.

We expected to see some denial money, but it looks like Peabody is the treasury for a very substantial part of the climate denial movement.”

Notable organizations listed in the initial documents include:

Notable individuals named in the initial documents include the following:

December 13, 2015

Writing as a guest blogger on Watts Up With That, CFACT‘s executive director Craig Rucker denounced the latest UN climate change agreement: [39]

“This agreement will not meaningfully alter the temperature of the Earth, even under the U.N.’s own computer models.

“The bad news is that it plants the seeds of a new UN climate regime that left unchecked will swell into a bureaucratic behemoth”

October 23, 2015

The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) joined U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, and others in filing a petition for review (PDFattempting to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. [119]

The full list of petitioners is as follows:

September 18, 2015

Senators sent letters to the Board of Directors for all 108 member companies of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce asking their positions on the Chamber’s efferts to oppose the Clean Power Plan. Full text of the letter is available here (PDF)[63], [64]

Letter signatories included: [63]

  • Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI),
  • Elizabeth Warren (D-MA),
  • Patrick Leahy (D-VT),
  • Barbara Mikulski (D-MD),
  • Dianne Feinstein (D-CA),
  • Barbara Boxer (D-CA),
  • Bernie Sanders (I-VT),
  • Tom Udall (D-NM),
  • Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH),
  • Al Franken (D-MN),
  • Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and
  • Ed Markey (D-MA)

The letters were sent after The New York Times reported on the U.S. Chamber’s “worldwide effort to fight antismoking laws of all kinds.” [61] The letter explains that the senators seek to “fully understand the U.S. Chamber’s support for the tobacco industry, the decision-making process that resulted in this support, and the role of […] board members in this process.” [63]

June 9, 2015 

Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, testified before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, claiming that lifting the ban oil crude oil exports should be a top priority:

“While there are many long overdue reforms being considered by the Energy Committee, the one that will have the single biggest positive impact is lifting the outdated ban on crude oil exports,” said Harbert. “Allowing the U.S. to export oil will benefit our economy and reduce the influence of countries and groups that use oil exports for purposes inconsistent with America’s interests.” [25]

February 24, 2015 

The U.S. Chamber of commerce’s President and CEO, Thomas J. Donohue, released the following statement regarding Obama’s decision to veto legislation that would have approved the Keystone XL Pipeline:

“By vetoing this legislation and continuing to delay a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, it is becoming harder and harder to take President Obama’s commitment to job creation and energy security seriously. The lack of approval for Keystone has major implications for America’s relationship with Canada—our strongest and most reliable ally—and on the way America is perceived around the world. On behalf of job creators across the country, the Chamber will continue to push for Keystone’s approval.” [26] 

September 2014 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce started its “Keystone XL Pipeline Lost Opportunity Tour,” in Montana at the starting point of the proposed pipeline. [27]

According to the press release, the Chamber visited with “economic development leaders and a small business eagerly awaiting construction of the pipeline.” 

The tour ended in Nebraska, the final state on the pipeline route. [28]

May 28, 2014

The Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy released a report finding that “EPA’s plans to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants will cost America’s economy over $50 billion a year between now and 2030.” [122]

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCC) reviewed the report, finding that the “widely cited report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce contains no mention of the benefits of reducing carbon emissions and falsely inflates the costs of the proposed standards using what the EPA dubbed ‘unfounded assumptions’ about the then unpublished Clean Power Plan proposal.” [123]

As UCC noted, Washington Post and PolitiFact fact checkers have criticized politicians for falsely portraying the U.S. Chamber’s report as an analysis of the EPA proposal. [124], [125]

September 4, 2013 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce released the third part of a study, titled “America’s New Energy Future: The Unconventional Oil and Gas Revolution and the U.S. Economy” (PDF), which opposes regulation to shale energy production (hydraulic fracturing). [29]

The study, co-sponsored by The Institute for Humane Studies (IHS)claims to demonstrate that shale energy production “could be in jeopardy if the U.S. adopts more restrictive policies or regulations”:

“While shale energy development holds a great deal of promise, the movement to restrict shale development with further regulations places it all in jeopardy,” said Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy. “By continuing to push unnecessary federal regulations when strong state regulations already exist, the federal government is risking the only reliable sector of job growth in the entire economy.” [30]

March 2013

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce worked with the American Petroleum Institute in a “Grassroots” efforts to beat back “misinformation” from opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline. [31]

The Hill reported that “the Chamber is making the case that scrapping Keystone would amount to succumbing to ‘fringe groups.’”

“For the business community, the Keystone XL pipeline has become a bellwether indicator of whether America will be open for business during President Obama’s second term or not. If the pipeline permit is denied, it will send a strong signal to the private sector to put their money elsewhere,” Karen Harbert, president and chief executive of the Chamber’s Energy Institute, told The Hill in a statement.

July 26, 2012 

The U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy launched a “Shale Works for US” campaign focused on “galvanizing support for shale energy resources across America.”

“Shale energy has the potential to be an economic game-changer for our entire nation,” said Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the Energy Institute. “Thanks to American innovation, we are now in a position to take advantage of vast amounts of shale energy resources that will create jobs and make us more energy secure. The Shale Works for US campaign will help educate the public and the business community about the benefits and opportunities presented by increased shale production.” [32]

The campaign was launched in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and New York, with more states to follow.

November 28, 2011 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce filed a brief urging the U.S. Court of Appeals to reject a challenge to the federal offshore permitting process that would halt offshore oil and natural gas exploration in the Gulf of Mexico. 

“Now that oil and natural gas production is finally resuming in the Gulf of Mexico, environmental groups are once again seeking to put the Gulf out of work,” said Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy. “We cannot afford a ‘just say no’ energy policy. Every drop of oil we produce in the Gulf generates investment in the U.S and reduces our dependence on oil from unstable regions. In addition, if successful, this lawsuit could put tens of thousands of Americans out of work at a time when unemployment is already far too high.” [33]

August 16, 2011

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce was one of several groups represented at a White House Meeting to lobby against ozone regulations. In addition to the Chamber, members of the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (now the the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers), the American Petroleum Institute (API), the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), and the American Chemistry Council spoke to top administration officials such as Cass Sunstein at OMB‘s information and regulatory affairs division and EPA‘s Gina McCarthy. [108]

According to White House meeting records, those present included:

Charles DrevnaNPRA
Bruce JostenU.S. Chamber of Commerce
Cal DooleyAmerican Chemistry Council
Jack GerardAPI
Jay TimmonsNAM
Donna HarmanAmerican Forest & Paper Assn.
John EnglerBRT
Dan UtechDomestic Policy Council
Gary GuzyCEQ
Carl ShapiroCEA
Michael FitzpatrickOMB/OIRA
Cass SunsteinOMB/OIRA
William DaleyWhite House
Gina McCarthyEPA
Dominic ManciniOMB/OIRA

October 2010

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce partnered with Scholastic books to distribute approximately 100,000 books to middle schools across America as part of its “Shedding Light on Energy” campaign. [34]

“What do you think could happen if one of our energy sources was suddenly unavailable (e.g., power plant maintenance, government curb on production, etc.)?” The book asks.

According to Politico, “U.S. Chamber of Commerce wants middle school students to consider what would happen if government regulations shut down the coal industry or another domestic energy source.” [34]

U.S. Chamber officials maintained that there is no “hidden agenda” behind the question or the educational outreach effort in general, although the book is notably being distributed at a time when the Environmental Protection Agency is set to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

Dan Weiss, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, suggested the Chamber has ulterior motives. “It sounds like this may be one part education and one part fear-mongering,” Weiss said. [34]

“Weiss said he was concerned about a partnership between the Chamber, which is spending millions to defeat Democratic congressional candidates and has opposed federal and state efforts to deal with global warming, and Scholastic, which has a large presence in public schools around the country.” [34]

June 28, 2010

Months after the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, recognized as the worst oil spill in Oil History, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce called for an end to the ban on drilling in the Gulf:

“We must avoid snap decisions following the spill that would threaten U.S. energy security and harm our economy,” said Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy. [35]

November 12, 2009 

Prior to the 2009 United Nations Climate Conference in Copenhagen, the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy released a report titled “The Prospects for Copenhagen: More Realism Can Smooth the Way” (PDF). [36]

The report suggests that “how rapidly advanced energy technologies are developed and adopted will be the single most important factor in determining how quickly—and at what cost—greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced” and calls for “realistic goals”:

“For businesses to remain competitive, our national leaders must ensure that a new global climate agreement sets realistic goals, recognizes growing energy needs, ensures global participation, promotes technology, encourages trade, and doesn’t weaken intellectual property,” said Stephen Eule, vice president for climate and technology at the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21 Century Energy. [37]

On November 17, Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy testified at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing “exploring the international aspects of global climate change” where she largely based her testimony on the report findings.

According to Harbert, an “agreement focusing on technology offers a path forward that developed and developing countries and the business community can embrace” is needed. [38]

October 2009

Nike Inc. charged the U.S. Chamber of Commerce of making decisions on climate and energy policy without approval from its board of directors, The New York Times reported. [95]

“We just weren’t clear in how decisions on climate and energy were being made,” said Brad Figel, Nike’s director of government relations. “They’re not being made at the board-of-director level, because we’re a member of the board of directors. We were not consulted. We’re convinced that’s not really where the action on climate change is being made.” [95]

Nike decided to withdraw from the Chamber’s board of directors, after several decisions were made on climate policy without consulting directors. Nike had told the chamber that it wanted to be consulted on climate issues. Brad Figel, Nike’s director of government relations, said that “there were several decisions that were made by the chamber that we weren’t consulted on” after their request, including the decision to file a petition opposing EPA‘s proposed decision to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. [95]

“Policy is developed and recommendations are made to the whole board,” Chamber spokesman Wohlschlegel said. “It’s an open and voluntary process, and it’s formulated by a majority of our members that represents the broader business community’s perspective and not just the interests of one sector, one energy sector […] or one sector of the economy.” However, Nike said that they received a different story: [95]

“They told us these decisions were made by staff,” Figel said. He said that Nike was told that “this is a longstanding chamber policy,” and that “once the policy is established, a lot of these decisions can be made at the staff level.” [95]

Fred Palmer, who has historically questioned the risks of climate change, and then on the Chamber’s board of directors, came to the Chamber’s defense: [96], [97]

“I have never seen an instance where there has been an effort to limit debate and discussion,” said Palmer. “To the extent people feel their voice is not being heard at the chamber, it’s not the chamber’s fault.”

September 21, 2009 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce hosted the Major Economies Business Forum (MEBF) on Energy Security and Climate Change.

“We have to recognize that for many countries, providing modern energy services to their citizens is as important—if not more so—than reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy. “An international agreement that fails to recognize the growing need for affordable and reliable energy will not be viable over the long-term.” [39]

August 2009

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce called for an official trial on the scientific evidence for man-made climate change. The Chamber said it would be “the Scopes monkey trial of the 21st century,” the LA Times reported. The EPA called the hearing a “waste of time” and described the threatened lawsuit by the Chamber as “frivolous.” [98]

Thinkprogress reported that, in the filings, the U.S. Chamber makes arguments for global cooling and cites the work of the Heartland Insitute‘s Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC). Some excerpts, as reported and highlighted by Thinkprogress, below: [99], [100]

It is arbitrary for EPA to rely on 21 years of twentieth-century warming as near-conclusive proof of human warming but then claim that the preceding 31 years of cooling and the following 13 years of no warming prove nothing”

Over the last 65 years, temperatures have mostly been steady or declining, while CO2 levels have steadily increased

empirical data from independently derived temperature records show the pattern demanded by this theory and predicted by models does not exist

2009 Report of the NIPCC, Climate Change Reconsidered”

August 12, 2009

leaked memo (PDF) obtained by Greenpeace and written by Jack Gerard for the American Petroleum Institute (API), in cooperation with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), revealed the coordinated campaign behind the “Energy Citizens” which had been designed as a “grass roots” effort to combat climate change legislation. [109]

DeSmog reported on the API‘s “Fake ‘Grassroots’ Campaign” noting that the leaked memo asks API’s member companies to recruit employees, retirees, vendors and contractors to attend “Energy Citizen” rallies in key Congressional districts nationwide.  API is focusing on 21 states that have “a significant industry presence” or “assets on the ground.” [110]

Energy Citizens” is supported by the API, National Association of Manufacturers, American Farm Bureau, American Highway Users Alliance, National Black Chamber of Commerce, Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, FreedomWorksAmerican Conservative UnionAmericans for Tax Reform, and Council for Citizens Against Government Waste. [111]

O’Dwyer’s Magazine wrote that Energy Citizens “has loudly protested the EPA’s decision to have greenhouse gas emissions regulated under the Clean Air Act,” also noting that API members include Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, GE, Halliburton and Shell. [112]

Promotional flyers for the campaign warned that “Climate change legislation being considered in Washington will cause huge economic pain and produce little environmental gain,” reported The Wall Street Journal. The EPA had estimated the climate bill would only cost U.S. households “About a postage stamp a day.”[113]

June 26, 2009

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce lobbied against climate change legislation to be introduced by congress (namely the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill). In a statement, the Chamber said it favors “mainstream, common sense views” on climate change but opposes the carbon-capping bill that the House of Representatives passed on June 26. [40]

“The last thing this country needs is fourteen hundred new job-killing regulations and mandates,” said the Chamber’s Senior Vice President of Environment, Technology and Regulatory Affairs William Kovacs in a press release. “The Chamber hopes, at some point, that Congress will find a way to balance the need for a strong U.S. economy while still addressing global climate change. Unfortunately, Congress has fallen short with this bill.” [41]

The Chamber also wrote a letter (PDF) to all members of the House “expressing concern over the bill and suggested ways that the bill could be modified.” [42[

As of September, 2009, the Chamber’s actions and stance on climate change had caused a rift in its own membership with prominent member Exelon Corp announcing it would not renew its membership, following similar departures from PG&E Corp and PNM Resources Inc. Nike also announced its disagreement with the Chamber’s stance in a September 22 statement. [40]

Johnson & Johnson also criticized the chamber earlier in the year for failing to “reflect the full range of views” of its members on climate change. At the time, Exelon, Duke Energy, PG&E and PNM were all members of the corporate and environmental coalition U.S. Climate Action Partnership, which favors federal law requiring “significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.” [40]

June 2009

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency questioning the science behind climate change: [43]

The US Chamber of Commerce’s submitted comments (PDF) conclude: there are “profound and wide-ranging scientific uncertainties” about climate change and its impacts on health and welfare that are “vehemently controverted among scientists and technicians of numerous stripes.” [44]

The Chamber also submitted a supporting document, “Detailed Review of EPA’s Health and Welfare Scientific Evidence” (PDF) that included a number of additional statements: [45]

“Humans have become less susceptible to the effects of heat due to a combination of adaptations, particularly air conditioning. The availability of air conditioning is expected to continue to increase.”

“Reduced exposure to cold days is a significant factor in the increased life expectancy experienced in the U.S. over the past 30 years. This benefit from reduced exposure to cold can be further attributed to people migrating to warmer climates.”

“Overall, there is strong evidence that populations can acclimatize to warmer climates via a range of behavioral, physiological, and technological adaptations.”

“[T]he scientific evidence is clear that cold is a more potent hazard than heat.”

April 20, 2007

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched a website titled designed to “help educate businesses and the general public about ways to help protect the environment.”

“Economic growth and environmental progress are not incompatible pursuits,” said William Kovacs, Chamber vice president of environmental policy. “A strong economy gives us the resources to protect our environment.” [46]

November 2007

The US Chamber of Commerce released a video titled “Wake Up to Climate Change Legislation!” that called for US voters to tell their Senator to “vote NO on the Lieberman-Warner Climate Bill.” [47]

The description reads as follows:

“If this bill becomes law, 3.4 million Americans will lose their jobs. American GDP will decline by $1 trillion. And American consumers will be forced to pay as much as $6 trillion to cope with carbon constraints.*

The only way to address the climate change challenge is through technology and energy efficiency. This bill avoids both.”

Note that the original video is now listed as “private” on YouTube.

Transcript (archived video on file at DeSmog): “Climate legislation being considered by congress could make it too expensive to heat our homes, power our lives, and drive our cars. Is this really how Americans want to live? Washington politicians should not demand what technology cannot deliver. Urge your senator to vote ‘No’ on the Lieberman-Warner Climate Bill.”

March 2008

PR Daily reports that general James L. Jones, former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO forces in Europe, joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as a lobbyist to head the new Institute for Energy. [48]

“Jones will head the Institute for Energy, which is to present itself as a grassroots organization. The Chamber went a similar path with the creation of the Institute for Legal Reform.”

The Institute would focus on global warming and seek “to ‘unify energy stakeholders behind a common strategy’ to produce affordable and secure supplies while protecting the environment.” 

November 10, 1999

A leaked memo obtained by DeSmog revealed efforts as early as 1999 by the American Petroleum Institute (API) lobbyist Phil A. Cooney to campaign against the regulation of CO2 and other Greenhouse Gases. The API memo invites a range of industry representatives ,including Robin Conrad/Bill Kovacs of the US Chamber, to meet to discuss a petition by environmentalists for the EPA to regulate CO2, Methane, Nitrous Oxide, and HFCs. [126], [127]

“We would like to invite you to attend a breakfast meeting at API to exchange infonnation on this petition and to discuss preliminarily options for responding, on a joint or individual basis,” the invitation reads. It was addressed to the following: [126]

  • Julie Becker (Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers)
  • Jan Amundson/Mark Whitenton (NAM)
  • Robin Conrad/Bill Kovacs (US Chamber of Commerce)
  • Sharon Kneiss (American Forest & Paper Association)
  • Bruce Steiner (American Iron and Steel Institute)
  • Glenn Kelly (Global Climate Coalition)
  • Alan Schaeffer/Fem Abrams (American Trucking Association)
  • John Wetzel (American Association of Railroads)
  • Connie Holmes/Harold Quinn (National Mining Association)
  • Bob Strieter (Aluminum Association)
  • Ed Merlis (Air Transport Association)
  • Tom Parker (Chemical Manufacturers Association)
  • Maurice McBride/Bob Decaprio (NP & RA)
  • John Huber (PMAA)
  • Bill Fang/Paul Bailey (Edison Electric Institute)
  • Dennis Stolte/Adam Sharpe (American Farm Bureau Federation)
  • Joe Cox (Chamber of Shipping of America)
  • Tom Allegretti (American Waterways Operators)
  • Bill Fay (American Highway Users Association)
  • Martin Whitmer (American Road and Transportation Builders Association)
  • Tracy Norberg (Rubber Manufacturers Association)
  • Ivette Rivera (National Automobile Dealers Association)
  • Bob Stewart/Bob Moran (National Ocean Industries Association)
  • Glenn Keller (Engine Manufacturers Association)
  • Thomas Tate (Aerospace Industries Association of America)
  • David D’Onofrio (National Small Business United)
  • Andy O’Hare (American Portland Cement Alliance)
  • Gary Evans (National Rural Electric Cooperative Association)
  • Diane Bateman (The Fertilizer Institute)
  • Fred Palmer (Western Fuels Association)
  • Kevin Belford (American Gas Association)

April 29, 1998

According to an invitation letter retrieved from Greenpeace research archives, the United States Chamber of Commerce hosted a “major national conference on the proposed Kyoto climate change protocol.” [103]

“While much has been said and written about the science of climate change and the economic implications of the proposed Kyoto Protocol, little attention has been given to the effect of this sweeping and hastily drafted treaty on the sovereignty and national security of the United States,” read the the letter from R. Bruce Josten, the Chamber’s Executive Vice President of Government Affairs, to Representative Lois Caps.

The conference was titled “The Kyoto Climate Treaty: American Sovereignty and Security at Risk.” View a promotional flyer below:

1998 US Camber Kyoto Conference

Image via Greenpeace research archives.

US Chamber of Commerce Contact & Location

As of May, 2016, the US Chamber of Commerce listed the following contact information on their website: [59]

Chamber of Commerce of the
United States of America
1615 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20062-2000
Main Number: 202-659-6000
Customer Service: 1-800-638-6582

Affiliates and Programs

Other Organizations

Yucca Energy Solutions

Yucca Energy Solutions (YES) is described in the 2005 annual report (PDF) of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as being a “200-member coalition was formed by the U.S. Chamber to advocate for congressional approval of, and funding for, Yucca Mountain as the site of a permanent federal repository for nuclear waste.” [56]

Particulate Matter Coalition

The Particulate Matter Coalition is described in the 2005 annual report (PDF) of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as being “made up of industries concerned with EPA’s continued revision of the particulate matter air quality standards. The U.S. Chamber is a member of the steering committee and plays a lead role in managing the coalition’s activities.” [56]

American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

According to files on record at the Center for Media and Democracy’s Sourcewatch, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been a member of a number of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s task forces including: [57]

  • The Civil Justice Task Force,
  • the Education Task Force,
  • the International Relations Task Force,
  • and the the Telecommunications and Information Technology Task Force

The following is also taken from CMD‘s Sourceawtch records:

ALEC Civil Justice Task Force Meeting (2011)

Sourcewatch reports Page Faulk, Chamber Vice President, presented “The Promoting Merit in ‘Merit Selection’ Act” model legislation at Civil Justice Task Force Meeting at ALEC‘s 2011 meeting.

ALEC Education Task Force Meeting (2011)

Stanton D. Anderson, Senior Counsel to the President and Chief Executive Officer, issued remarks on the “Free Enterprise Education Act” model legislation, and Roberta Philips sponsored discussion and voting on the act.

Telecommunications and Information Technology Task Force Meeting (2011)

Mark Elliot, Executive Vice President, and Andrew Kovalcin, Director of Stakeholder Advocacy, both of the Chamber’s Global Intellectual Property Center, introduced the “Resolution in Support of Federal Efforts to Address Rogue Internet Sites that Sell Counterfeit Products and Facilitate Digital Theft” at the Telecommunications and Information Technology Task Force Meeting.

International Relations Task Force Meeting (2011)

He also presented on the “Erosion of Intellectual Property” and introduced the “ALEC Resolution to Counter Rogue Internet Sites” model policy at the International Relations Task Force Meeting at the 2011 meeting.

The Chamber’s International Division joined ALEC‘s International Relations Task Force on July 3, 2013, according to ALEC board materials.

American Crossroads

Sourcewatch reports that American Crossroads and the Chamber are closely tied, and closely coordinated their efforts in the 2010 midterm elections.

According to Think Progress:

“At every turn, from the operatives running the two organizations to their targeted races to their media firms, American Crossroads and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are bound to one another…the two groups have exhibited uncanny coordination in their election targeting. In a number of Senate races, the Chamber and American :Crossroads coordinated their advertisements – one group put up ads in a race as the other group pulled its own down – in :order to ensure attack ads were always running against the Democratic candidate.” [58]


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  34. Josh Voorhees. “Chamber: Worry about regs, kids,” Politico, October 19, 2010. Archived February 27, 2016
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  36. The Prospects for Copenhagen: More Realism Can Smooth the Way” (PDF), Institute for 21st Century Energy, 2009. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.
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  38. Harbert: Realistic Approach that Includes Business Needed for Climate Deal,” Institute for 21st Century Energy, November 18, 2009. Archived February 27, 2016. 
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  45. ATTACHMENT 1: Detailed Review of the Health and Welfare Science Evidence and IQA Petition for Correction” (PDF) retrieved from Mother Jones. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.
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  48. Jones Works Energy Front,” O’Dwyer’s PR Daily (sub req’d), March 5, 2007.
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