Watchdogs Accuse Chamber of Campaign Finance Violations

Posted March 16, 2009 at 5:06pm

Two watchdog groups asked the Justice Department on Monday to reopen a nearly five-year-old complaint against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its president, Tom Donohue, for allegedly committing a “willful violation of campaign finance law.—

In a letter sent to Attorney General Eric Holder, the Campaign Legal Center and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington asked that federal prosecutors revisit allegations that the business lobby “violated the Federal Election Campaign Act by making $3 million in illegal corporate contributions to the November Fund, a 527 organization set up as a vehicle to attack John Edwards, then the Democratic nominee for vice-president,— the two groups said in a joint statement.

CREW originally filed the Federal Election Commission complaint in 2004. Last fall, the agency’s bipartisan panel finally threw out the charges after deadlocking on how to punish the chamber, even though the two groups allege that FEC investigators determined earlier that the chamber had run afoul of campaign finance laws.