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"I'm Big Oil and I Approve of This Candidate" - Sierra Daily
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Sierra Daily

Feb 24, 2011

"I'm Big Oil and I Approve of This Candidate"

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Back in those innocent days last spring in the aftermath of the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision in Citizens United, some wondered whether it was really going to be such a big deal after all.

 "The big question is whether they are actually going to use this new tool that has been given to them," says Dave Levinthal, communications director of the Center for Responsive Politics. Corporations already often give to candidates on both sides of the aisle. If they choose sides, he points out, they'd better be sure they pick the winner. And businesses might be leery of aligning with a particular political party, since presumably they'd still welcome customers from both.

Not! First came the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's record spending in the 2010 midterm elections. Now, via Think Progress, we learn that the American Petroleum institute, Big Oil's lobbying arm, will start contributing directly to candidates this year. Here's Dan Weiss from the Center for American Progress:

While ExxonMobil, BP, and other large oil companies run their warm and fuzzy clean energy ads on television, API wields brass knuckles behind closed congressional doors to get special treatment. API wants to drill in fragile, sensitive places, keep government tax breaks, expand offshore drilling without reforms, and block global warming pollution reduction requirements.

API's first order of business is to block President Obama's proposed repeal of $46 billion in subsidies to the oil industry. So far so good from their point of view: Instead of repealing the handouts to Dirty Energy, the supposed deficit hawks in the House of Representatives are looking to defund Planned Parenthood and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting instead.

--Paul Rauber

illustration by Victor Juhasz

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