Donohue has been a prominent critic of the Obama administration, saying its regulatory efforts have curbed economic growth. The Chamber spent $30 million in the 2010 midterm elections, all but about $2 million to elect Republicans, according to Federal Election Commission reports.
“We’re engaging earlier and more aggressively than ever,” Donohue said in a Feb. 9 statement. “We’re asking the public to hold members of Congress accountable for their positions on Obamacare, job-killing regulations, energy security, and a culture of wasteful spending in Washington.”
David Chavern, the Chamber’s chief operating officer, who had $1.1 million in total compensation in 2010, said Donohue’s salary is justified by the leadership skills he has displayed since taking the job in 1997.
“The list of people who could do what Tom does is exceedingly small, and it should come as no surprise that our board tries to compensate him in a way that recognizes that,” Chavern said in an e-mailed statement.
R. Bruce Josten, the Chamber’s top lobbyist, earned $1.69 million, according to the group’s tax filing.
Carlton Carroll, an API spokesman, declined to comment on Gerard’s compensation, citing a policy on personnel issues.
Tauzin’s salary reflected, in part, his role in brokering a deal with the Obama administration capping at $80 billion the amount drugmakers would contribute to health care reform.
With salaries of members of Congress at $174,000—or 1.5 percent of Tauzin’s final payday — lawmakers can get tempted to look toward their post-government career, according to Jill Fisch, a University of Pennsylvania law professor who specializes in corporate governance.
“That’s the classic concern of the revolving door,” she said. “People take government jobs to get higher-paid positions in the private sector, and actions in the public sector are influenced by their possible next step.”
The analysis was limited to trade organizations charged with representing the interests of industries, and excluded single companies or pressure groups backed by individual paid members, such as the National Rifle Association and AARP, the largest advocacy group for older Americans. Salary figures were taken from Form 990 filings that nonprofit organizations are required to submit to the IRS and that list their highest-paid employees.
Twenty-six of the top 30 have completed their 2010 regulatory filings with the IRS disclosing executive salaries for that year. For the remaining four — the American Bankers Association, the Recording Industry Association of America, the Managed Funds Association and the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association — Bloomberg analyzed 2008 and 2009 salary filings.
Peter Brusoe, Jonathan D. Salant, and Alexandre Tanzi in Washington contributed to this report.