Who said our Chambers are politically nonpartisan?

I received this email and flyer from the Penn Valley Chamber of Commerce in the inbox for our business with a subject line reading “Reception Honoring 4th District Supervisor Hank Weston.” In fact, it was inviting the recipients to a political fundraiser “Join the NCCA PAC in re-electing Hank Weston” “Make checks out to …”:

Come on. This is totally inappropriate for a Chamber “eblast.” Tax-exempt nonprofits can lose their status for political campaign activity.

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About jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.
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7 Responses to Who said our Chambers are politically nonpartisan?

  1. Way past time to take the Contractor’s group down a few pegs when it comes to electing far right folks. How different is the membership than the local Tea Party? Inquiring minds and all.

  2. jeffpelline says:

    Curtis,

    Contractors, even NCCA-member contractors, are a politically diverse bunch. The contractor’s PAC is separate, and for whatever reason, has chosen not to be politically diverse. It’s an open secret.

    Many of us remember the nasty race between Nate Beason (a conservative, mind you) and Sue McGuire for District 1 supervisor. At the time, the contractors group was mad at Nate for standing his ground on a lawsuit over land-use involving the airport.

    Either way, it is inappropriate for the Penn Valley Chamber to send out campaign material promoting any one candidate over another. This is not their mission. The subject line was misleading too — it is a political fundraiser, not a “reception.”

    We belong to the Nevada City Chamber, the Truckee Chamber, and we are associate members of the Grass Valley Downtown Association. This is not what they practice.

    The biggest irony is that we are a politically diverse county, so you can’t really grow your membership (at the NCCA or the Penn Valley Chamber) if you don’t reach out to your “unlike-minded” constituents.

    And sure enough, the membership of the NCCA and Penn Valley Chamber haven’t grown much. In business parlance, they are “leaving money on the table.”

  3. jeffpelline says:

    In contrast, here’s an email we got from the GVDA. It is about BUSINESS, not politics, and it is valuable. It’s one reason we belong.

    “Good afternoon GVDA members! I am excited to introduce you all to a NEW program, Alignable! Attached is the information. The company is using Grass Valley as one of its pilot cities… we are the first to sign on in California, and this opportunity came our way through the California Main Street Alliance. I encourage you to sign up! ITS FREE and is a great way to network with other businesses, post your Facebook and Twitter and so much more… all from Alignable and use your Constant Contact.

    “Alignable is a free social network built for local business.
    We know that together local businesses are stronger- Alignable is the place that supports local b2c/b2b/non-profits alike in taking their towns back form big box and online giants.”

  4. jeffpelline says:

    The Obama administration is considering imposing new regulations restricting the political activity of chambers of commerce. Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2013/12/01/irs-considering-new-regulations-on-chamber-of-commerce-groups/#ixzz2sepTkAtW

  5. Chip Wilder says:

    The US Chamber of Commerce ought to change its name to the Pirates of the Americas — and maybe sponsor a ride at Disneyworld where everyone gets their pocket or purses picked at the end of the boat trip.
    http://www.truth-out.org/buzzflash/commentary/item/18333-crime-advocates-us-chamber-of-commerce-supports-international-business-bribery

  6. Joe Koyote says:

    This story on Yubanet tells the tale about the US chamber. It is just another shill for the wealthy.
    http://yubanet.com/usa/Majority-of-Donations-to-the-U-S-Chamber-of-Commerce-Given-by-Just-64-Entities.php#.UvZm9a6vcw8

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