The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has longed claimed, and I've probably printed, that they've got a membership roster exceeding 3,000,000 businesses. When a company like, oh, say, Apple, decides to dis-affiliate, the Chamber press shop has been able to say, apparently with a straight face, that 2,999,999 entities still support the group. The implication: Apple (and Excelon and Nike) are just a few crumbs off the side of a mountain. (Privately, Chamber officials contend that these companies caved to pressure from Democrats and are afraid of retaliation from the administration.)
Well -- it should have been obvious to those of us who've written about the chamber at the 3 million figure was, to say the least, an exaggeration. And not an innocuous exaggeration either. As Mother Jones points out, the 3 million figure includes every member of local and regional chambers of commerce, many of whom want nothing to do with the mothership -- and some of whom have no formal affiliation with it whatsoever. Indeed, many state and local chambers are members of the national chamber, just like businesses are. Indeed, the Chamber's brand -- in part because of the hard work done by state and local chambers -- remains pretty solid outside of Washington.