Hidden Chamber of Commerce hand behind anti-Solis ad

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There’s a new ad floating on the “BlogAds” network, and it’s quite a doozy. In giant font, the ad warns of “Obama’s ETHICAL Problem,” which obviously piqued PaperTrail’s interest, since we get paid to track that kind of thing. That line is followed by a picture of the President’s nominee for Secretary of Labor, Rep. Hilda Solis. The text of the ad reads:

“Three Strike Solis is wholly owned by big labor and has allegedly broken

House ethics rules and campaign finance laws to enact their radical anti-worker agenda.”

Clicking on the ad takes you to a petition against Rep. Solis’ nomination, which is hosted on the website of “Americans for Job Security.” While it’s hard to find anyone these days who would be against job security, the claim that Solis is “anti-worker” doesn’t seem to jibe with endorsements from the AFL-CIO, SEIU, and other unions.

As it turns out, Americans for Job Security is actually a spin-off of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation’s most robust business affiliation that has traditionally worked to elect conservative, pro-business politicians and judges is one of the strongest anti-union voices in American politics. The group also lobbied heavily against the Employee Free Choice Act legislation that Solis co-sponsored in 2007 as a member of Congress.

In a 2007 FEC complaint, Public Citizen alleged that Americans for Job Security was “a sham front group that would be better called Corporations Influencing Elections.” This followed a 2004 IRS complaint by the non-partisan watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington that the group was a political organization and should not be able to claim tax-exempt status.

Repeated calls to the organization for comment were not returned.

The President of Americans for Job Security, Stephen DeMaura, was the executive director of the New Hampshire Republican Party and gained some internet-fame by starting an anti-Hillary Clinton Facebook group back in 2007. The group does not disclose its backers, but according to a 2003 National Journal article (subscription only) “500 corporate and individual members help subsidize the organization with contributions that have been as high as $100,000.”

In the end, it shouldn’t be surprising that a group with a history of working against unions would be against the nomination of a pro-union Secretary of Labor. What was interesting was that the tipster who pointed this out to PaperTrail found the ad on a generally liberal blog, politicalwire.com, which suggests that Americans for Job Security may have gotten their wires crossed as to their intended target audience.

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