Missoulian: Missoula Chamber says it doesn’t condone ads attacking Tester

The Missoula Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to members Tuesday saying it does not condone a set of “counterproductive” U.S. Chamber of Commerce-sponsored campaign advertisements targeting Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont.

“As an independent organization governed by local business and community partners, we do not automatically agree with either the Montana Chamber of Commerce or the U.S. Chamber on their polices or messages,” the letter said.

It notes that the Missoula Chamber’s goal is to foster “positive collaboration with local policymakers.” The letter is signed by Kim Latrielle, Chamber president, and John Brauer, board chairman.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce advertisements have aired on TV for several weeks in Montana, and include several 30-second pieces that depict Tester as anti-small business and anti-family.

Democratic incumbent Tester is running for a second Senate term against Rep. Denny Rehberg, a Republican.

The letter was released to address concerns raised by members over the advertisements, and to clear up misinformation about how the ads were funded, Missoula Chamber government relations liaison Steve Mauer said.

“We do not engage, support or endorse political candidates, we don’t pay for advertisements that go in that direction. Unfortunately, there’s misinformation about how that payment goes,” Mauer said. “We pay dues to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. … They have a separate entity that does their political advertising.”

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