Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Boehner Leads the PAC (Of Utilities, That Is)

As followers of R?S? know, common themes here include Big Oil's continued funding of key clean energy opponents, breaking of its promises, and their ongoing, well, bigness.

Not to be outdone, it seems some coal-dependent utility companies have stepped up their game and are trying to win influence with their checkbooks (via Greenwire - subscription required):
Large electric utilities that rely heavily on coal poured money into re-election campaigns as the House shaped and passed landmark climate legislation, a bill that helps those businesses partly sidestep its toughest provisions. Employee-run committees for American Electric Power Co. Inc., Duke Energy Corp. and Southern Co. gave $165,000 to 70 House members in April, May and June. They sprinkled money among senators, too, contributing $46,500 to 18 Senate re-election campaigns.

The money went heavily to members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that amended and voted on the bill before the final floor vote. Contributions also went to lawmakers from states where the utilities have plants. Both the companies and lawmakers insisted there is no correlation between campaign contributions and votes.
Who received the most money from the utility companies? Here are some hints: He loves to chit-chat (even though he doesn't always have his facts straight) and can throw a mean party.

If you guessed John Boehner (OH), you were right:
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) received the highest total contribution amount from utility PACs during the second quarter. He took in $11,500 total, comprised of $8,500 from Ohio-based AEP, and $3,000 from Southern Co. Boehner declared his opposition to the Democrats' climate bill early on.
Though the utility companies insist "there is no correlation between campaign contributions and votes," we're going to start looking into the apparent connection between utility PAC donations and referring to progress on clean energy and climate reform in terms that would make a sailor blush.