US Chamber Linked to Shady Companies In Effort to Smear Political Opponents
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Using Hunton & Williams -- the same law firm/lobby shop which the Chamber hired last year to sue the Yes Men -- as a middleman allows the Chamber to hide behind the firm, but that doesn't mean they were not involved. First, the emails clearly indicate that the "client" whom Team Themis was assisting was indeed the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The reason why the Chamber can claim not to have "hired" HBGary is because until as recently as a week ago, the security firm was working on spec. As Wheeler pointed out, a February 3 email shows that Hunton & Williams simply got "HBGary to do a month of work for free to decide whether they want to hire them." They were expected to be paid $250-300 thousand per month, and the deal was very close to being complete when the emails were leaked. The emails also reveal that lawyers from Hunton & Williams met with the Chamber numerous times in order to brief them on the status and progress of Team Themis. A January 13 email shows that the private security firms assumed the project was "a go." An email from February 3 showed that Hunton & Williams wanted the firms to work on spec "and then present jointly with H&W to the Chamber" on or around February 14. It's unclear whether that meeting will be still be taking place today.