A million here, a million there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money, when it comes to election spending. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is shooting for $75 million in this year's election, more than twice its total during the 2008 presidential election, the Center for Public Integrity reports:
The Chamber aims to raise $75 million for the business behemoth’s electoral efforts, a 50 percent jump from its earlier stated goal of $50 million, Donohue said in a tough closed-door speech on June 28 to about 100 business and industry group leaders, according to a source who attended the meeting. If it can haul in the $75 million, which is expected to go heavily into issue ads and get out the vote efforts in a few dozen key House and Senate races, the Chamber would likely be the biggest spender among outside groups helping the GOP. The lion’ share of the Chamber’s political spending in elections has historically benefitted Republicans.
The Chamber has never been a free-market organization, because most large businesses do not really want free markets. But as our own Tim Carney points out, the interests it represents come from such a broad business community that it tends to oppose the narrowest forms of rent-seeking by corporate welfare queens.
That the Chamber, an umbrella lobby representing all corners of industry, opposes Obama on regulation is almost the exception that proves the rule. Rent-seeking, corporatism, and regulatory robbery are about seeking special favors, and narrow benefit. The broader the group, the less it engages in special-interest pleading.