Next week, Republican House leadership plans to introduce a legislative bonanza of dirty energy giveaways that, as National Journal reported in an email yesterday, is “chiefly messaging, designed to generate campaign-ad-worthy talking points before it clears the House and dies in the Senate.”
It might be messaging for TV ads, but it also sends a message to the dirty energy interests filling their campaign coffers: we’ve got your back.
The package of seven bills, which Republicans term the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act, includes one that the American Lung Association has called the “GASP (Gutting Air Standard Protections) Act” because of its likely effects on children with asthma. Others would force the leasing of more public lands for oil and gas extraction and hamstring the ability of the executive and judicial branches to enforce clean air regulations.
Not surprisingly, dirty energy interests like oil, gas, coal mining, and electric utilities are some of the biggest backers of the same Republican House leadership that is pushing this legislation, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.
- Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is the lead sponsor of the package. Between the 2010 cycle and the present day, the oil and gas industry has rocketed from being the 14th biggest donor industry to McCarthy’s campaign committee and leadership PAC to his largest, more than tripling its gifts from $76,050 to $246,700—with months still left before Election Day. Add in electric utilities and coal mining interests and McCarthy’s dirty energy money so far in the 2012 election exceeds $400,000.
- Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) have also raked in large amounts from dirty energy. Boehner’s total rose from $560,422 in 2010 to $798,855 so far in the 2012 cycle, and Cantor increased from $428,998 to $464,800.
- Big Oil, coal mining and electric utilities gave $35.7 million to Republicans in 2010, compared to just $18.6 million to Democrats.
- In the 2012 cycle, the split is even larger: four out of every five dollars donated to congressional and presidential candidates by dirty energy interests this year have gone to Republicans—$33 million to $8.5 million.
With the end of the second quarter fast approaching, members of Congress will be spending lots of time dialing for dollars and schmoozing with lobbyists—there’s no doubt many of those folks will be energy executives or their lobbyists.