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US business leaders defend tea party, anonymous political ads

The top officials at the US Chamber of Commerce scold Congress over stalled transportation bill. But they defend tea partyers as 'people who believe in conservative economic policies.'

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Thomas Donohue (r.) and Bruce Josten, president and executive vice president, respectively, of the US Chamber of Commerce spoke at a Monitor-hosted breakfast for reporters in Washington, D.C. on May 21.

Michael Bonfigli/The Christian Science Monitor

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Washington business advocates Thomas Donohue and Bruce Josten are president and executive vice president, respectively, of the US Chamber of Commerce, considered the most influential business group in the nation. They were the speakers at the May 21 Monitor breakfast.

Congress's efforts to agree on a transportation bill to fund highway construction and repair:

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JOSTEN: "What we lack is anybody of any party willing to address the fundamental problem called money."

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Need for tighter bank regulation after JPMorgan Chase reported a $2 billion trading loss:

DONOHUE: "My own view is to suggest that we wait and see what happens here.... The thing that is most hurt in that bank was [chief executive officer Jamie Dimon's] pride."

Critics who say banks take risks knowing the government will bail out bad decisions:

DONOHUE: "I don't worry about the government. The first government that helped the banks was George Washington's, and ever since every time they do it they make usurious amounts of money."

Whether the Chamber of Commerce was right to back tea party candidates:

DONOHUE: "They are not crazy people. They're people who believe in conservative economic policies.... We're going to get some long-term benefit here.... Some of them are going to get a little more informed and become more useful."

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Efforts to force disclosure of the identities of those who fund political issue ads:

DONOHUE: "You know what the disclosure thing is all about? It's all about intimidation.... They want to be able to intimidate people, not to put their money into the electoral process."