"The U.S. Chamber of Commerce often says it speaks for 3 million members, businesses both large and small. What it doesn't promote as readily is that 19 supporters last year provided a third of the trade group's total revenue.
Documents filed with the Internal Revenue Service this month show the chamber drew its 2008 funding heavily from a small group of contributors, with each paying more than $1 million. Within that set, some gave very large sums. One company or person provided the chamber with $15.3 million last year, an amount more than 10 percent of the influence group's $147 million revenues. Another gave $8.2 million, and a third $2.9 million.
The chamber did not release the names of those supporters. A copy of the trade group's tax return obtained by E&E includes a list of contributors that the IRS requires, but with the names of those contributors removed. It is unclear whether each sum came from an active member company or a hands-off benefactor. As well, it is not possible to know whether those giving large sums are most interested in climate and energy policy, health care, taxes, or the other myriad business issues the chamber lobbies on to Congress."
Anne C. Mulkern reports for Greenwire in the New York Times November 23, 2009.