|October 19, 2009|
|Dinosaurs Roam at U.S. Chamber of Commerce|
|By Kevin McCauley|
|U.S. Chamber of Commerce boss Tom Donohue yesterday unveiled a splashy $25M "Campaign for Free Enterprise" drive (e.g., usual call for less taxes, regulations, governmental intervention) that it says will create 20M jobs in the U.S., which is ironic considering that the Chamber is having a hard time "employing" its own members due to conflicts over its head-in-the-sand position on climate change. |
Apple, Duke Energy, Exelon, Pacific Gas & Electric are among blue-chips that recently called in quits on the Chamber. Nike took a half-way measure, withdrawing from its board of directors.
The 71-year-old Donohue says good riddance to 'em all. He penned a catty letter to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, saying it was "unfortunate that your company didn't take the time to understand the Chamber's position on climate and forfeited the opportunity to advance a 21st century approach to climate change."
My guess is the people at Apple are pretty savvy when it comes to the environment.
The Chamber's position is to fight tooth-and-nail against the reinvigorated Environmental Protection Agency's plan to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. That's anathema to the Chamber, which had its way with the EPA during eight years of non-regulatory bliss enjoyed under the Bush Administration.
The business group believes any pollution restrictions placed on U.S. companies should also apply to emerging nations like China and India. The Chamber's banner reads: A Level Playing Field for Polluters.
During the presser, Donohue lashed out at green groups for "coordinating the effort" to get companies to quit the Chamber. Environmental organizations can only dream they had such clout. The Chamber president oddly added: "I'm sort of proud by some of the reaction. ...[It shows] we're having some effect," according to a report in Roll Call.
In other words, Donohue is proud that his policies are spurring members to drop like flies, creating a ton of bad PR for the Chamber.
Donohue sounds downright dinosaur-like at a time when corporate, public and government cooperation is needed to solve huge problems like global warming.
He is however in a position to do some good. He should name the individual organizations the next time he spouts off against greenies. That would be a blessing to the groupsí fund-raising.
For the good of the Chamber, vice chairman Tom Bell, former CEO of Burson-Marsteller and parent company Young & Rubicam who assumed his Chamber post in June, should take command of the media spotlight.
He is a much smoother operator than the other Tom.
(Photo via Arizona Chamber)
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