Maine Small Business Coalition member speaks out against the U.S. Chamber's "Secret Spending" in Washington, D.C.
Maine Small Business Coalition member Melanie Collins traveled to Washington, D.C. today to participate in a rally calling on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to disclose its funding sources and stop its opposition to financial disclosure reform. Marking the U.S. Chamber's 100th birthday, Collins joined with grassroots organizations representing members across the country to deliver a message to the U.S Chamber that acting as a funnel for secret corporate money makes it more difficult for small business owners to participate in the political process. The event, coordinated by Public Citizen and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), is part of a larger effort to win financial disclosure legislation that requires groups funded by secret money to publicize the sources of their financial contributions.
"Secrecy is at the heart of the Chamber's sales pitch," said Collins. "When I want to make my voice heard, I stand up and speak. I use my name. I think the Chamber's big donors should, too.
Collins continued, "The most offensive part of all this special interest political spending is that they do it under the name of the small business owner. I call that small business identity theft. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce doesn't speak for small businesses, and they don't speak for me."
In 2012, the U.S. Chamber has already spent more than $1.2 million funding political advertisements in Maine. Although many local Chambers of Commerce in Maine distanced themselves from the initial purchase of advertising space by their national affiliate, the U.S. Chamber continues to attack candidates for U.S. Senate in Maine under the guise of speaking for Maine small businesses. Earlier this week, the U.S. Chamber launched another round of advertisements that attack former governor Angus King.
"When outside groups and big corporations like Anthem spend money to try to buy elections in Maine, small business owners from all across the state lose out," said Collins.