Who Makes the Decisions at the Chamber of Commerce?

The New York Times is delving into a question on more and more minds of the US Chamber of Commerce's members: Who is actually making the policy decisions at the US Chamber?

This must-read story by Greenwire's Anne Mulkern is so good I just had to pull in several paragraphs.

Nike is trying to find out the answer, because

"We just weren't clear in how decisions on climate and energy were being made," said Brad Figel, Nike's director of government relations. "They're not being made at the board-of-director level, because we're a member of the board of directors. We were not consulted. We're convinced that's not really where the action on climate change is being made."

The chamber reaches its positions through a "democratic process" that is "driven by members," chamber spokesman Eric Wohlschlegel said yesterday.

Questions about how the chamber decides its legislative positions come as some companies have been leaving the well-heeled trade group over how it handles lobbying on federal climate policy. A widening, albeit small, group of businesses has departed, citing a difference of opinion over not just policy but rhetoric used by business' biggest lobbying arm.

As a result, the Times reports,

Scrutiny of the chamber is likely to continue. About a dozen other companies are talking about joining Nike's planned call for more chamber transparency, said a representative of a technology company who asked not to be identified because the group is not yet formal.

"Policy is developed and recommendations are made to the whole board," spokesman Wohlschlegel said yesterday. "It's an open and voluntary process, and it's formulated by a majority of our members that represents the broader business community's perspective and not just the interests of one sector, one energy sector ... or one sector of the economy."

He would not address Nike's statement, however, that while it had representation on the board of directors, the board did not vote on climate policy positions. Wohlschlegel would not say when the board last took a vote on its position on climate legislation.