Chamber of Commerce threatening critics? FBI probe requested.
Our readers will recall the VR campaign, StopTheChamber.com, as one that was started in 2009 to focus attention to possibly illegal activities of the Chamber, under its chief Tom Donahue,
Yesterday, LegalSchnauzer reported that a new letter has been sent to the FBI by VR's attorney, Kevin Zeese, requesting that the law enforcement agency investigate a series of threats against his organization.
These reportedly began shortly after launch of the Stop The Chamber campaign and included insults and explicit threats of violence. They've apparently increased with VR's current advocacy efforts to track other Chamber activities such as the joint campaign financing effort with Karl Rove, AmericanCrossroadsWatch.org
Specifically, over the past two weeks, these Chamber staff and supporters have escalated what appears to be a coordinated attack on our organization and staff...
I was intrigued by an apparent escalation of the threats, according to Zeese's FBI request (pdf), beyond a proxied smear campaign to include direct efforts by Chamber attorneys to media organizations demanding "that they not publish information about the Chamber’ s illegal activities, and defaming our organization and its staff"..
The Chamber's demands were sent to Ilene Proctor, VR's public relations agent, PR Newswire, and the HuffingtonPost. According to LegalSchnauzer, the threat was enough to prevent publication by PR Newswire of at least one VR press release.
I think it's a dramatic statement to say that the Chamber of Commerce, the prime advocate of commercial speech rights (after the Supreme Court, of course), would go so far as to shut down such speech.
I'd guess that StopTheChamber.com is having real effect!