Critics of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service, charging that the chamber violated tax codes by laundering millions meant for charitable work from a group connected with insurance giant A.I.G. The complaint was filed by the newly formed U.S. Chamber Watch, which is backed financially by labor unions. A chamber spokeswoman said the charges are a political ploy.
Read: Chamber of Commerce Accused of Tax Fraud
Read: Letter of complaint to the IRS, which presents a compelling case against the the Chamber.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has such a prominent presence that many Americans believe it is part of the federal government. Tom Donohue, chamber president and CEO, is the sixth highest paid lobbyist in the nation. With fall congressional elections approaching, the chamber plans to spend $50 million in about 40 U.S. House and Senate races. That amount is more than twice the combined cash holdings of the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee as of late May.
Read: Show Him the Money: Tom Donohue scares millions of dollars out of corporations and Republicans. But is his U.S. Chamber of Commerce good for business?
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the largest force for lobbying in America. In 2000, it spent $18.7 million on lobbing . In 2008, it spent $91.7 million. By 2009, the U.S. Chamber pumped in $144.5 million. It's lobbying costs are five times higher than the next highest spender, Exxon Mobil who weighs in at $27.4 million. The Chamber has more than 150 lobbyists from 25 different firms working on its behalf.