The US Chamber of Commerce has become so powerful it almost rivals the major parties, thanks in part to recent Supreme Court rulings that have given its fundraising operations a shot in the arm. Flush with cash, the group has launched a concerted grass-roots operation, signing up 6 million individuals who aren’t Chamber members, the LA Times reports.
That network has sent more than a million letters and e-mails to Congress, 700,000 of them in opposition to health care reform, and will be involved in get-out-the-vote efforts this year. The chamber now has political ground operations in 22 states, including Senate battlegrounds like Colorado, Arkansas and Ohio. Overall, the chamber spent $144 million on politics last year, a 60% increase from 2008—and it’s expected to easily top that this year.