The Dernogalizer

August 24, 2010

Polluted Politicians: Dirty energy money flowing to U.S. Senate incumbents

Filed under: Energy/Climate,National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 12:41 am
Tags: , ,

I want to re-post this blog story from TckTckTck about the scary influence of polluter money on our politicians, particularly the US Senate incumbents.

Polluted Politicians: Dirty energy money flowing to U.S. Senate incumbents

2010 has been a particularly good year for the oil industry. All of the big oil companies are on track for record profits again this year, even with the ecological,economic and public relationsdisasters stemming from theirvarious oil gushers.

The U.S. Senate failed to pass substantial climate legislation,and politicians remain eager to accept large amounts of money from fossil fuel industries to fund their political aspirations. It’s a great year to be a petroleum executive.

Fortunately, it’s also a great year to be a voter.

Washington is steeped in dirty energy money, with polluting industries contributing vast sums to political campaigns in order to keep American leadership beholden to the status quo fossil fuel addiction.

One of the many ways voters can show their support for clean energy is by electing candidates with cleaner, greener records and policies. How do you know which candidates are greener than others? One of the simplest ways is to look at their funding sources. Do they take money from dirty energy sources to fund their campaigns? (supported by TckTckTck partners, Greenpeace and 1Sky) are two great new web resources for tracking the oil and coal industry money polluting Washington politics. Using data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, the group Oil Change International created these interactive tools to track the flow of oil and coal industry campaign contributions to members of Congress.

So, how do things shape up with the 111th congress?

In terms of overall campaign contributions, Republicans receive 54% of the fossil fuel funding, holding a slim lead over Democrats who receive the other 46%, according to Oil Change International.

By sorting the data according to the top recipients of polluter money on, it is easy to see that fossil fuel interests are bipartisan when it comes to buying politicians in the 111th Congress, with Arkansas Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln collecting the largest sum of dirty energy money ($510,150), followed by Republicans Lisa Murkowski from Alaska ($390,622), David Vitter from Louisiana ($316,278), and Richard Burr from North Carolina ($245,774).

Rounding out the Top 5 is Democrat Arlen Specter of Virginia, who received $185,799 from polluters during the current session. Unfortunately for his supporters, Specter lost his 2010 primary race to another Democratic candidate, Joe Sestak.

Vote with your climate conscience

Using the resources available at, here is a list of the Top 10 incumbent Senators from each party who accept contributions from polluting companies. All of these candidate are currently running for re-election in November 2010 and these figures represent the amount of campaign contributions received since January 2008.

Democratic incumbents

Rank Name & Constituency $ of Contributions
1 Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas $510,150
2 Michael Bennet of Colorado $96,320
3 Chuck Schumer of New York $78,200
4 Harry Reid of Nevada $63,500
5 Kristen Gillibrand of New York $59,600
6 Barbara Boxer of California $33,150
7 Ron Wyden of Oregon $30,564
8 Daniel Inoyue of Hawaii $23,400
9 Patty Murray of Washington $14,650
10 Russ Feingold of Wisconsion $9,650

Republican incumbents

Rank Name & Constituency $ of Contributions
1 Lisa Murkowski of Alaska $390,622
2 David Vitter of Louisiana $316,278
3 Richard Burr of North Carolina $245,774
4 John Thune of South Dakota $163,874
5 John McCain of Arizona $150,410
6 Tom Coburn of Oklahoma $128,650
7 Jim DeMint of South Carolina $121,274
8 Chuck Grassley of Iowa $113,950
9 Richard Shelby of Alabama $99,100
10 Johnny Isakson of Georgia $93,950

The more information voters have on the policies, platforms and funding sources of candidates running for office, the better equipped they are to cast an informed vote. Please share this information with your climate-minded friends and remind them of the importance of voting with their climate conscience in the next US election.


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