As Stephen Colbert rightfully pointed out earlier this week, a 501(c) organizations — which he termed “Spooky PACs” — operate like Super PACs, except that they are completely secret organizations that do no reveal any of their donors. Like Super PACs, 501(c) groups can raise unlimited corporate and union donations, and can spend that cash on independent expenditures, better known to voters as attack ads, automated telephone calls, and political mail.

The biggest Spooky PAC since the Citizens United decision has been the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber trades on its brand. People think the U.S. Chamber, based in D.C. across the street from the White House, is somehow related to their local chamber of commerce. Rather, the U.S. Chamber is a partisan lobbying force that raises large sums of money from multinational corporations to elect pro-big business candidates.

The Republic Report was the first to reveal all known contributors to the Chamber. But because the Chamber faces no disclosure requirements, we only have a small piece of the puzzle.

United Republic’s Jasper McChesney put together this infographic that shows how direct corporate cash, from firms like Prudential Financial and Coca-Cola Inc, flows into the Chamber secretly, and is then used for nasty attack ads:

The Chamber led the biggest attack ad effort of the 2010 midterm election. And now, the Chamber again is leading among the Spooky PACs active in 2012. Just this week, the group announced another round of ads, targeting Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), Rep. Kathy Hochul (D-NY), and many others.

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  • David Whitten

    Remember,the American Medical Association is a member of this group of thieves.

  • MariaEC

    Like ALEC, this is another group that needs to dragged into the daylight and exposed for what it is. There are way too many spurious ‘non-profit’ organizations with money to burn promoting agendas that subvert the democratic process. They aren’t even required by law to reveal their membership and, to me, there’s something very unsettling about that. Any group that demands their privacy while invading the privacy of the citizens in this country needs a good thorough investigation and a few laws changed. Large corporations who band together to fund super PACs which can alter the course of our country should not be entitled to operate as a secret society.

  • Kim G

    We get the best government money can buy.

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  • Johnny Warbucks

    Long live the terrorist organization euphemistically known as the Chamber of Commerce and its hit team in the US Supreme Corporate Court!

  • Marysrn

    They’re currently doing an almost libelous number on Florida senator Bill Nelson, with video that makes him even LOOK hideous! Attack ad that shows on just one TV station about every 15 minutes, or whenever there is a commercial break. Can you imagine the effect it has on the elderly who believe stuff because it is on TV?

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  • Spectate Swamp

    Here in Canada they rig forums all the time. They have to be outed for this practice. Hillary Clinton planted questions the last time out. The CofC should never be allowed to attend let alone run another forum..

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