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April 3, 2021

Executive Compensation at the US Chamber of Commerce

by Anne Paddock

The US Chamber of Commerce (also known as the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America) is the largest business organization in the United States representing businesses. A tax-exempt, non-profit 501 (c) 6 organization, the US Chamber of Commerce (USCOC) is based in Washington, DC.

The USCOC raises about $160 million annually (primarily from contributions, gifts and grants with only $5 million coming from membership dues) and spends what it receives. In fact, the USCOC has a negative net asset position (-$26 million) which is an important consideration when the 10 most highly compensated employees received $24 million in compensation in 2018.   In addition, USCOC paid for first class and charter travel, companion travel, health or social club dues or initiation fees, and for personal services (i.e. maid, chauffeur, chef).

In 2018, 424 employees received $85 million in compensation which equates to an average compensation of $200,000. However, only 173 employees received more than $100,000 in compensation with the 15 most highly compensated reported to be:

  • $6,897,144:  Thomas J Donohue, President and CEO/Director
  • $3,916,498:  Agnes Warfield-Blanc, EVP, Development and Fund
  • $2,506,098:  Suzanne P Clark, Sr Exec VP
  • $2,301,722:  Thomas Collamore, SVP, Comm and Strategy Counsel and Ops
  • $1,950,483:  Myron Brilliant, EVP and Head International
  • $1,841,992:  David T Hirschmann, President and CEO, CCMC, GIPC,C-Tec
  • $1,259,991:  Karen Herbert, Pres and CEO, Energy Inst
  • $1,051,756:  Justin Waller, CMO and SVP, Ops
  • $  969,472:  Lily Fu Claffee, SVP, General Counsel, CIO, and Sec’y
  • $  904,094:  Neil Bradley, EVP and Chief Policy Officer
  • $  835,030:  Stan M Harrell, SVP and CFO
  • $  773,690:  John W Howard, SVP, Congressional and Public Affairs
  • $  370,477:  Robert J Engstrom, Current Employee, Former Key Employee, SVP Political Affairs
  • $  316,927:  John Wood, SVP, General Counsel, CIO, and Sec’y
  • $  282,600:  Greg Lebedev, Director/Consultant

The 15 most highly compensated employees received more than $26 million.  11 of the 15 (73%) most highly compensated employees are male while 4 of the 15 (27%) are female.

USCOC paid for first class and charter travel, companion travel, health or social club dues or initiation fees, and for personal services.  For details on these expenses, see Schedule J, Part III, Supplemental Information on the Form 990.

60 independent contractors received more than $100,000 in compensation with the five highest reported to be:

  • $5,270,805:  Something Else Strategies, LLC, of Easley, SC for advertising services
  • $4,834,422:  Revolution Agency, of Alexandra, VA for advertising services
  • $1,554,650:  R Street Films, of Alexandra, VA for advertising services
  • $  720,034:  Albright Stonebridge Group, of Washington, DC for public/gov’t relations overseas
  • $  676,058:  Lockton, LLC of Boston, MA for insurance brokers

In summary, the USCOC is a large business chamber headquartered in Washington, DC that pays its top executives handsomely. The 15 most highly compensated employees received $26 million in compensation, which equates to an average compensation of $1.7 million each.  This when the USCOC spent more than they raised in 2018 although the organization did go from -$36 million in net assets to -$26 million due to a minimum pension reserve adjustment. And yet, how can any non-profit in a negative asset position justify these compensation packages and pay for first class and charter travel, travel for companions, health or social club dues or initiation fees, and personal services?

To read the IRS Form 990 (2018), click here.

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