It was quite a victory for business organizations. We stopped the “cap and trade” bill dead in it tracks. This would be the start of a pro-business movement knocking down the majority of President Obama’s environmental and regulatory platforms.
His view of an economic agenda for the Black middle class was expanding welfare and Medicaid – even free phones. Ours was to solidify our economic infrastructure and create growth in business development and attractive jobs.
Our brand was growing extensively. We were hitting the cable talk shows. Major newspapers loved our quotes. Our growth and popularity was becoming a pain to the very progressive Obama doctrine.
After doing something major and successful against the Democratic Party, “How are they going to come after us?” was the question.
I never dreamed that something elaborate requiring huge resources from them would be created targeting the National Black Chamber of Commerce, which was conceived in my wife’s kitchen back in the early 1990s.
The Obama administration was more than progressive. It was radical. They decided to take on the US Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber sent the new administration an invitation to discuss and work together on issues whenever possible. In response, the Obama “disciples” formed the 1 Percent Movement.
They held anti-Wall Street demonstrations which would tie up some of our major cities. They sent letters to the Chamber’s board of directors demanding that they resign their positions. They threatened some members, who had to hire bod guards to protect their homes, businesses, and family members. It was anarchy by any other name.
They tried to start a rival organization called the US Green Chamber of Commerce. It flopped.
Then they tried another idea. How about creating a Black organization to rival the National Black Chamber of Commerce?
Even at our conception there were carloads of people trying to rival our mission statement and leadership direction. A few tried to steal our name. We would peel them off one by one from one city to the other.
On this attempt, we had no idea about what was going to happen. A group of enablers formed – Wells Fargo, AT&T, Phoenix University, about 10 nonaffiliated chambers, a Black-owned newspaper in Arizona, Obama’s Small Business Administration, Minority Business Development Agency, and whoever else we didn’t detect.
There was John Podesta through his issues firm, Dewey Square, Valerie Jarrett, her chief of staff Michael Strautmanis, and a group of federally-paid White House staffers and deputies.
From the above group of enemies, there must have been millions of dollars vested in this vile attempt to destroy our federation. Propaganda, smears, and attempted poaching of our affiliated chapters became commonplace. They would write articles for Black newspapers like I do and would quote me like I approved them.
They had me on their website, like we were the same.
Many were confused and a few desertions from our federation would popped up. They called themselves the “Obama Chamber of Commerce.” It was an oxymoron. How can a business association support a nonbusiness agenda?
They became so relentless that I concluded that we must sue them. They had a treasury that was a bottomless pit. In retrospect, it was probably Podesta. He has the bucks and knows where there are more. A lawsuit would lead to depositions, and then we could find out who was really in charge. I asked my board of directors for approval. It was unanimous.
Who’s behind this?
Before we filed a lawsuit, I had a Capitol Hill investigative reporter do some snooping. The assigned leader of this rival group had formally visited the White House more than 23 times within six months. When asked about this under deposition, he said “We were organizing our new chamber…The White House was so helpful.”
Money was no problem for the White House. Where did they find this guy? Flew him out from Phoenix; put him in a multi-million-dollar home in North Bethesda, Md.; got his children into Georgetown Prep – one of the most expensive and prestigious boys’ school in the United States.
Where is his office located? – in some White organization’s office.
One last thing before we go to court.
Michael Strautmanis called a “come to Jesus” meeting with our board and some of their players across from the White House. It got heated after about two hours when finally, Michael blurted out, “You guys don’t even know that it was Aubrey Stone who came here and gave us this idea.”
There it was, thanks to Michael. It fits the history of Aubry. I smiled and remembered a scene from “The Godfather” – “It was Barzini all along.”
So now it was time to sue. We budgeted $300,000 to get to a reasonable settlement.
Harry C. Alford is the co-founder and president/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Contact him via www.nationalbcc.org.