Fox News host Glenn Beck's eyebrow-raising $10,000 donation to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's campaign to help mostly Republican pro-business candidates sparked a record-breaking flood of small donor support to the Washington institution.
During his October 14 his radio broadcast, Beck said, "I would like to have this [be] the largest day of fundraising for the Chamber of Commerce ever." It was.
By the end of the day, after Beck announced his donation, linked the chamber fundraising campaign, and interviewed Chamber executive vice president for government affairs and top lobbyist Bruce Josten, the chamber raked in over $312,000, a history-making tally for the group. According to chief spokesman Tom Collamore, the Beck-inspired money bomb "was the single largest day of online fund raising that we've ever had." He said that over 7,000 made donations, for a rough average of $44 each, crashing the Chamber's Internet server.
The Chamber tells Washington Whispers that the donations encouraged by Beck came in through their Web site dedicated to helping small businesses, and the Friends of the Chamber Web site.
Beck's donation came after President Obama and dozens of Democratic leaders assailed the chamber for its political activities, charging that it was using funds from foreign corporate members to run ads against Democrats. They are also displeased with the chamber's refusal to reveal donors. The chamber says that it doesn't have to reveal donors and adds that it has complied with all laws barring foreign money from being used for domestic political activities.
The one-day online fund raising record reveals both the political power of Beck and the support for the chamber, which has been opposing the administration on pro-union efforts, healthcare reform, and taxes on small businesses.
Collamore posted a thank-you note to Beck on the chamber's blog that said in part: "We just wanted to say thank you to Mr. Beck and his many loyal listeners who believe in our mission of protecting and advocating for the principles of free enterprise. And for those of you who didn't have a chance to contribute yesterday—or who want to contribute again—just click here. Let's see if we can crash the server again."