Chamber Membership Falls by 2.7 Million Due to ... Scrutiny

Josh Harkinson at Mother Jones notes that the US Chamber is now saying it has 300,000 member, not 3,000,000 as its been claiming recently. As Josh reports:

A day after Mother Jones exposed the US Chamber of Commerce's inflated membership numbers, the Chamber quietly backed off the figure in its public statements. At a Washington press conference this morning unveiling the Chamber's Campaign for Free Enterprise, Chamber officials repeatedly cited a membership of 300,000. That's a tenth as many members as the Chamber claimed a day earlier, when a press release for the Washington event said the Chamber represented "more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.

Harkinson further notes that Mark Jaffe, CEO of the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce, a dues-paying member of the national group, is skeptical of the Chamber's earlier membership claims.

Jaffe also scoffed at the US Chamber's oft-repeated claim to "represent 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions," saying "They are playing games" with their numbers, Jaffe said. "They don't have half the businesses in America as registered, dues-paying members."

Granted, the US Chamber still represents a lot of businesses. But its more and more clear that you can't believe everything that comes out of the Chamber.

Running tab of the Chamber's Climate Credibility Crisis (with new features: editorials discussing the Chamber's credibility crisis; and local Chambers distancing themselves from the US Chamber position):

Quit US Chamber over climate:  Apple, Exelon, PNM Resources, PG&E, PSEG, Levi Strauss & Co.*

Quit US Chamber Board over climate: Nike.

Companies that say the US Chamber doesn't represent their views on climate: Johnson&Johnson, General Electric, Alcoa, Duke, Entergy, Microsoft, Toyota(?).

Media outlets observing that the US Chamber is damaging its reputation and credibility: BusinessWeek, PRWeek, Fortune Magazine's Marc Gunther, Newsweek, LA Times.   

Local Chambers distancing themselves from the US Chamber: San Jose Chamber of Commerce, Greater New York Chamber of Commerce, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.

Learn more at

* UPDATE 11/12/09: Levi-Strauss informed us that the company did not leave the US Chamber over climate concerns, as Greenwire had reported.