-By Jia Lynn Yang and Tom Hamburger
November 7, 2012- The day after an election in which the U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent millions of dollars backing losing Republican candidates, executives began the brutal process of assessing what went wrong at the nation’s leading business organization.
The Chamber spent nearly $24 million to defeat several high- profile Democratic Senate candidates, including Sen. Sherrod Brown in Ohio, former governor Timothy M. Kaine in Virginia and Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. But out of 15 Senate races where the business organization put down money, only two went the Chamber’s way.
The results were not much better in the House, where the Chamber poured more than $7 million into 22 races, according to the CRP. The Chamber’s candidates picked up only four wins.
Even the Chamber’s close allies agreed that this year’s record spending yielded disappointment and exposed potential rifts in the business community just as Congress begins to tackle the so-called “fiscal cliff” and related tax and spending issues.
“It is ugly,” said one veteran of Chamber campaigns, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid alienating the group.
Gregory Casey, head of the Business Industry Political Action Committee, a rival organization that encourages political participation by corporations, on Wednesday called this year’s spending by business-allied groups wasteful and said it was already producing demands for change.