For the first time in recent history, the lobbying, grassroots and advertising budget of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has surpassed the spending of BOTH the Republican National Committee and Democratic National Committee.


This is significant. It means that the Great Transition has already begun.  In the days following the decision in Citizens United, campaign finance experts predicted that the decision would open the floodgates of money for trade associations like the Chamber of Commerce. The influx of corporate money, according to some, would weaken the power of the political parties and candidates and lead the political parties to become less important. Republican lawyer Ben Ginsberg went so far as to say that the parties would be "threatened by extinction." And Ginsberg supports the CU decision!

As it turns out, the surge of contributions into the U.S. Chamber has already caused its budget on lobbying, grassroots and advertising to surpass that of both the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee for the first time in recent memory. According to The Center for Responsive Politics, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its national subsidiaries spent $144.5 million in 2009, far more than the RNC and more than double the expenditures by the DNC.
The Chamber spent much of its money in 2009 on campaigns that worked -- it scared the Senate away from considering a version of the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade legislation, and an argument can be made that its cutting ads on health care (with money taken from some insurance companies) helped to undercut support for the legislation.