A number of key officers depart U.S. Chamber of Commerce as lobbying group faces GOP criticism


A number of key officers have left the U.S. Chamber of Commerce because the nation’s largest enterprise lobbying group shifts its priorities and modifications its management through the administration of President Joe Biden.

Not less than 4 of the group’s key leaders left in current months.

The previous Chamber executives who’ve not too long ago departed both declined to remark or didn’t return requests for remark to CNBC.

A Chamber spokesman wouldn’t touch upon why the leaders talked about on this story selected to depart.

“Whereas the Chamber does not touch upon particular personnel, we’re pleased with our gifted workers, our file low turnover, and up to date new hires,” the spokesman stated. “Our staff are essential to serving our members and our mission to create jobs and stimulate financial development.”

He famous that the group not too long ago employed former Home of Representatives parliamentarian Tom Wickham as senior vice chairman for state and native coverage; Kasper Zeuthen, who led communications technique on commerce and different coverage issues on the European Union Delegation to the US, as a vice chairman; and Denise Osei, from advertising outfit Vacation spot DC, because the group’s social media strategist.

Nonetheless, the timing of the departures coincides with elevated Republican criticism of the Chamber because it backs more Democratic lawmakers.

The modifications additionally come as the brand new CEO, Suzanne Clark, takes over for Tom Donohue, who led the group because the late Nineties. The Chamber additionally not too long ago lost Charles Schwab as one of its corporate members.

Caroline Harris, a number one tax lobbyist for the Chamber, left the group this month, in keeping with her LinkedIn web page. She had been on the Chamber for over a decade, her web page says.

An individual with direct data of the matter, who declined to be named with the intention to communicate freely, advised CNBC that Harris is becoming a member of Capitol Tax Companions, a lobbying store that focuses on tax laws. The agency touts that it has labored on each tax invoice that has develop into regulation during the last 30 years, together with former President Donald Trump’s tax reform invoice.

The agency was paid practically $12 million in 2020 for its lobbying work, for purchasers equivalent to Apple, FedEx, Amazon, Citadel, Goldman Sachs and the American Funding Council, in keeping with information from the nonpartisan Heart for Responsive politics.

The managing companion at Capitol Tax Companions didn’t reply to requests for remark.

One other current departure is Christina Atchley Lotspike. She was a head lobbyist specializing in know-how and transportation infrastructure, which is a key precedence for the Biden administration. The president is searching for to boost the company tax fee to assist pay for his $2 trillion infrastructure proposal.

Atchley’s LinkedIn web page says she left the Chamber this month after over seven years with the group. Atchley is now a lobbyist at grocery procuring app Instacart.

Rob Schroder left the Chamber firstly of 2021, in keeping with his LinkedIn web page. He was a senior vice chairman of worldwide affairs. He had additionally been on the Chamber over seven years, in keeping with his LinkedIn web page.

Stan Harrell, who had been the Chamber’s chief monetary officer, now not holds that title, in keeping with the group’s web site. As a substitute, it lists him as a former senior vice chairman and CFO.

The latest 990 tax kind for the group’s basis from 2019, lists Harrell because the CFO. The shape exhibits that Harrell signed and dated the 990 doc in November 2020 because the CFO. His LinkedIn web page says he is been on the Chamber for over 20 years. The Chamber spokesman didn’t say who’s in line to be their subsequent CFO.

These strikes mark the newest departures from the Chamber of Commerce.

Scott Reed, a former senior political strategist on the Chamber, advised CNBC final yr that he resigned because of the “leftward motion and fixed Trump bashing of the Chamber.” The group claimed that they fired Reed.

The departures additionally come as corporations face pushback from GOP leaders for opposing Georgia’s new voting regulation and related measures being crafted in different states. Critics have stated these legal guidelines would curb voting entry for minorities.

Whereas a number of the Chamber’s members have been vocal about their opposition to those legal guidelines, the group itself has taken a extra direct stand in opposition to the Democratic-backed For the Folks Act, which goals to bolster voting entry.

The group’s letter opposing the invoice signifies that it’s in opposition to a lot of the voting laws being debated throughout the nation.

“The Chamber is deeply troubled by efforts on the state and federal stage to enact election regulation modifications on a partisan foundation,” it said.