Oil Change International

Exposing the true costs of fossil fuels

Follow the Money

ftomoilmoneybackAs Congress begins August recess, those of us who care about America’s addiction to oil, climate change, and a clean energy future have been scratching our heads, wondering why, after historic levels of pressure we can’t even pass an oil spill response bill, not to mention a real clean energy or climate bill.

When in doubt, follow the money.

As the new site DirtyEnergyMoney.com reveals, each Congress over the last decade has become more mired in oil money and choked on coal cash.

Over $114 million has been paid by these industries over the last decade to buy access and influence in Congress. Although we won’t know for another six months, the 111th Congress could end up being the dirtiest yet.

DirtyEnergyMoney.com was built by the organization I direct, Oil Change International, using data provided by the Federal Election Commission and the Center for Responsive Politics.

It’s a fully interactive site that allows folks to easily discover, expose, and track how much money their representatives are taking from the oil, gas, and coal industries.

The site is supported by a large and growing list of partner organizations:

Appalachian Voices, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Energy Action Coalition, Earthworks, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, MoveOn, Public Citizen, True Majority, 1Sky, and 350.org. All of the partners will be contacting their millions of members and urging them to tell their Representatives to stop taking dirty energy money.

Some of the key findings of the site so far include:

· Overall, the coal industry has been friendlier to the Democrats than Republicans thus far in the 111th Congress, with over $3.7 million going to Democratic members of the House and Senate, compared with about $2.8 million to Republicans.

· Republicans continue to take more oil and gas money, with the oil and gas industry contributing over $5.1 million to Republicans and $3.1 million to Democrats.

The influence of the industry also shows in recent energy votes:

· Senators voting in favor of a narrowly defeated June 10 resolution sponsored by Senator Murkowski that would have weakened the Clean Air Act and blocked new fuel economy standards, took on average two and a half times as much Dirty Energy Money as those who voted against it.

· Senators who voted against a June 15 vote sponsored by Senator Sanders that would have eliminated big oil and gas company subsidies have taken more than 3 times more oil and gas money in this Congress than those who voted for the amendment.

· House votes exhibit similar trends. Members who voted against the recently passed CLEAR Act (HR 3534), which removes the liability cap for oil spills and reforms oil and gas industry regulations, took nearly five times the amount of oil and gas money on average in the 111th than those voting for the Act.

A full list of our preliminary findings can be found here.  One of the strengths of the site is its interactivity, so feel free to investigate and analyze the data yourself.

Comments (4)

  1. Susan says:

    I am disgusted that many of our elected officials seem to care more about their campaign war chests than they do the American People. It appears that the corporations are now in complete control of the government. What a sad way for our country to die.

  2. Barry Miller says:

    My usual question is: why are we not using zero-point energy technology from the vacuum??

    Many inventors back to 100 years ago (Nikola Tesla for one) have been working on incredible technology which could eliminate the horrors of nukes, coal, oil and free everyone from the grip of the financial thugs.

    One answer I heard is: the NSA sends out their henchmen when the electromagnetic signature from these currently “backyard” created technologies are sensed by sophisticated monitors. The patent office and other governmental orgs. redline these technologies as they are claimed to not be in the “national security interests”. (More like not in the interest of the status quo of the mega-oligarchical money-changers).

    For solutions check out: Steve Greer’s ORION project and Bob Nelson’s REX research for starters.

  3. Steve – Many thanks to you and your colleagues at Oil Change for this fantastic resource. I feel like the Washington Post should be writing a lot more about money, politics and oil. Are they constrained by their own business interests? Just plain not interested? Or maybe I’m wrong and they are covering it more than I think. I haven’t studied it closely, but as a regular reader of Washington’s most influential paper, I feel like the money angle has been missing.

  4. Brian Foster says:

    Every one of these Congressman and Senators should be arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced to prison for life for taking money from big corporate polluers. To think that any ordinary citizen who commits a crime such as a DUI, possesion of mariuana, cocain or amphatemines is arrested, tried, and ussually convicted and given an arrest record for life and possibly jail or prison time is outrages. Now, DUI is a serious crime and I am not in any way condonig it. I am also not condoning drug use in any way. But it is very unfair the way that we only criminalize the poor working class people in america. Have you ever seen a Congressman’s or Senator’s face on a newspaper mugshot the way our society freely humiliates it’s poor low level criminals? Our goverment is bought and paid for by criminal corporate interest. The poor people in America have almost no rights. They will be tried, convicted and sentenced to prison for the slightest infraction, while the rich politicians in Washington freely take money from corporate special interest to allow our enviroment to be destroyed. Corporations contol America and we can do nothing about it.

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