The schism between business groups and some members of the Republican Party in Colorado came into sharp focus Saturday when U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), speaking on conservative radio, lit into the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
In an interview about his book Drain the Swamp, Buck was asked by KNUS 710-AM’s Chuck Bonniwell about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. (Listen, hour 3, at 15 min)
“They are one of the big problems in Washington DC,” replied Buck. “They affirmatively go after conservatives. Tim Huelskamp lost his seat in the western district of Kansas because of the U.S. Chamber targeting Tim as a conservative, and defeating him. They play, and they play very hard. We have some groups on the right, like Club for Growth, that also target folks. But, you know, the Chamber is a corporate cronyist organization that promotes corporate interests at the expense of conservative values. There are a lot of stories to tell about the swamp, and if I didn’t mention the Chamber, they certainly deserve to be mentioned.”
A spokesman from the Chamber promised to return my call with the Chamber’s decision on whether to respond to Buck.
Syndicated right-wing columnist Michelle Malkin, who resides in Colorado, has a similar view of the Chamber, writing in 2014. “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is a politically entrenched synod of special interests. These fat cats do not represent the best interests of American entrepreneurs, American workers, American parents and students, or Americans of any race, class, or age who believe in low taxes and limited government. The chamber’s business is the big business of the Beltway, not the business of mainstream America.”
Buck’s comments came after some Republicans in the Colorado General Assembly appeared to anger business groups by voting against a measure that classified a hospital fee as a business enterprise within the Colorado budget, freeing millions of dollars for health, transportation, and other state priorities.
After his vote against the legislation, which passed, State Sen. Ray Scott (R-Alamosa) alleged that the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce was so angry at him that the organization refused to read Scott’s letter about the General Assembly session at an annual breakfast.
Scott wrote on Facebook that he’s either “chopped liver” or, according to Scott, “they wanted to see how many would notice” [his absence from the meeting].