To: U.S. Chamber Members
From: Ashlee Rich Stephenson, Senior Political Strategist
Date: March 5, 2021
Re: Political Support for Candidates in Light of Events of January 6th
Over the last two months we have had the opportunity to engage with well over 100 Chamber members regarding PAC and political support for Members of Congress in light of the attack on the Capitol and the votes on decertification of the electoral votes of Arizona and Pennsylvania.
After careful consideration, I write to share with you the approach the Chamber will be taking with respect to our PAC and political program:
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Approach to Political Support
The erosion and breakdown in democratic norms that has occurred over many years is a point of concern for the Chamber. Our nation and our free enterprise system depend on the rule of law and a well-functioning democracy.
In the aftermath of the events of January 6, we announced that we would review the totality of actions of members. And take that review into consideration with respect to our PAC giving and political program.
Going forward, the Chamber will evaluate our support for candidates – Republicans and Democrats – based on their position on issues important to the Chamber, as well as their demonstrated commitment to governing and rebuilding our democratic institutions.
We do not believe it is appropriate to judge members of Congress solely based on their votes on the electoral certification. There is a meaningful difference between a member of Congress who voted no on the question of certifying the votes of certain states and those who engaged and continue to engage in repeated actions that undermine the legitimacy of our elections and institutions. For example, casting a vote is different than organizing the rally of January 6th or continuing to push debunked conspiracy theories. We will take into consideration actions such as these and future conduct that erodes our democratic institutions.
It is also essential that we focus on future actions to support our democracy. We need elected officials taking steps to build bridges, restore trust, and support our system of government. We want to encourage, including through our support, members who reach across the aisle, who reinforce critical norms, and who do the hard work of governing. We will take into consideration those positive actions as we evaluate whether to support a member of Congress.