Hoping to increase its clout on Maryland's political scene, the Maryland Chamber of Commerce is considering whether to launch its own super-PAC, the group's chairwoman said Tuesday.
Interviewed by The Baltimore Sun at the chamber's Business Policy Conference in Cambridge, Sheela Murthy said the Maryland business organization has been looking at the examples of its counterparts in such states as Indiana and North Carolina. Both states have taken strong right turns in recent years under Republican governors working with GOP-dominated legislatures.
Murthy denied that the chamber was veering onto a new, more ideological direction but confirmed that the chamber is looking to expand its political role.
Launching a super PAC would vastly increase the chamber's potential clout. Unlike a traditional political action committee, a super PAC does not contribute directly to candidates. It can spend unlimited funds to influence the results of a political contest with so-called "independent expenditures."
According to the watchdog group Open Secrets, super PACs were created as a result of a federal court case in 2010 allowing such expenditures.
In addition to considering the super PAC, the Maryland chamber has also decided to create a foundation to do political research and education, Murthy said. Such a move could give business-oriented conservatives a policy outlet to compete with the more libertarian-leaning Maryland Public Policy Institute.