By Parker Hardy and Chris Johnson
At the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce, we have been surprised by the debate that has surfaced after we established Progress PAC last month.
Why? Because political activity by this Chamber and others is nothing new. And political action committees, or PACs, are quite common tools for chambers and for other organizations that wish to exercise their rights to participate in the political process. Progress PAC was established to build transparency for the Chamber’s political engagement. It is not funded by Chamber membership investments or dues. Furthermore, city economic development marketing funds, which cannot be used for Chamber operations, certainly cannot and will not be applied to Progress PAC. Reporting requirements for all PACs will demonstrate that financial transparency.
Good chambers have been politically engaged for decades. And our chamber has been engaged in pro-business political activity since our founding in 1949—even before the City of Oak Ridge was incorporated. [Read more…]