Exclusive — U.S. Chamber of Commerce Defies Congressional Committee Chairman Demanding Funding Information

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has decided to defy a powerful House Republican committee chairman investigating the source of funds into its affiliated foundation, Breitbart News has learned exclusively.

A House Ways and Means Committee aide told Breitbart News that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce did not provide the relevant information to the panel’s chairman Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO) ahead of a deadline earlier this month when asked about donations made through the Tides Foundation to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation amounting to more than $12 million over the past several years. As Breitbart News and others have reported, Smith’s investigation into this matter is a major step for Republicans digging into the business community’s top lobbying arm—and it comes amid questions about who exactly is giving money to the Chamber’s foundation arm and why they are using a donor-advised fund like the Tides Foundation to do it rather than just giving the money directly. Doing it this way shields the identity of the giver, which raises questions about the source—and purpose—of the donations, especially since the money was given to a program designed to hire veterans.

Smith, in a statement to Breitbart News, noted the Tides Foundation’s role in passing funding through to various entities behind antisemitic college campus protests and escalated his demand for information from the group.

“The Chamber of Commerce has taken concerning positions in recent years that seem counter to their stated goal of promoting American businesses. Given the Committee’s work on the growth of the tax-exempt sector and the funding streams supporting a flood of antisemitism on college campuses, we were alarmed to see the Chamber’s affiliation with the Tides Foundation,” Smith said. “Exposing the web of liberal dark money that funds rising antisemitism on college campuses and impacts American politics is critical and we know the Tides Foundation is a key player in that larger web. The Chamber of Commerce is not immune from public scrutiny and no one should be surprised by our demands to explain this affiliation.”

These revelations that the Chamber of Commerce is not cooperating with a congressional probe into these financial questions also comes after the Chamber of Commerce released a public document on its website foreshadowing its defiance of requests via what it calls “False Claims vs. Facts.”

In the document, the Chamber of Commerce does not dispute any of the specific reporting from Breitbart News or any of the facts put forward by Chairman Smith of the Ways and Means Committee. The Chamber simply seeks to reframe the discussion and argues it has no obligation to be transparent about the true source of the money sent to its foundation. Most importantly, the Chamber says in this document that it is a “false claim” to argue that “the Chamber is obligated to disclose more information to get to the truth of this matter.”

Instead, the Chamber claims, it has to provide nothing more. “The Chamber Foundation is in full compliance with our obligations regarding donor disclosure,” the Chamber of Commerce document reads. “To ask for more disclosures goes against the Constitutional rights that protect nonprofit donors’ privacy.”

Where this goes from here, and whether a broader Ways and Means Committee investigation complete with subpoenas compelling document production is on the horizon, remains to be seen. But the fact that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is pretty openly and brazenly thumbing its nose at congressional investigators is an interesting development to say the least. Smith’s statement seems to suggest the next stages for the congressional investigation into these matters would focus heavily on the Tides Foundation’s role in getting funding to leftist protests on college campuses, and whether the Chamber of Commerce has any connections to any of that as well. Defying congressional investigators, it’s worth noting, rarely works out well for those who do so, especially if things escalate from simple requests to more complex pushes like compelled cooperation through subpoenas.

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