U.S. Chamber of Commerce to set up Silicon Valley outpost

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the powerful Washington, D.C. business lobbying group, will set up an outpost in Silicon Valley to broaden its membership, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal.

Silicon Valley firms have generally not looked to the Chamber to represent their interests in Washington. Apple dropped out in 2009 over the Chamber’s position on measures that would limit gas emissions. And Yahoo, in 2010, didn’t disclose why it did not renew its membership. The Chamber does not reveal the names of its 300,000 members.

Other groups like TechNet, the Internet Association, Information Technology Industry Council and TechAmerica have promoted the industry’s interests in Washington. And tech companies such as Microsoft and Google have beefed up their operations in D.C. in recent years.

But the Chamber is seen as as a powerful force in Washington, having spent $74 million last year on lobbying. The tech industry may have grown to appreciate the group’s might during the fight for immigration reform. The Chamber brokered a deal with labor that was seen as a breakthrough for the Senate bill that passed. It has since played a key role organizing the business community and coordinating with other groups.

And the tech industry may find the Chamber a natural ally for other issues it wants, such as comprehensive tax reform.

The outpost will be called the Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation, according to The Hill. It will be headed by David Chavern, the organization’s chief operating officer.

Chavern told the Journal:

Too often we get tagged as being about the old economy. But our core messages are all forward-leaning.

Above: The Capitol Building. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT)

Michelle Quinn Michelle Quinn (117 Posts)

Michelle Quinn is a Business Columnist at the San Jose Mercury News. Prior to her current role, she was the Silicon Valley correspondent at Politico covering tech policy and politics. She has also covered the tech industry at the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. She was a blogger for the New York Times.