Just 17 billionaires and businesses have dumped $62 million into GOP candidates so far this election
The U.S. coal industry is hurting financially, tar sands investors may be suffering from low oil prices and renewables may be expanding as never before, but the oligarchs of fossil fuels are not on the ropes yet. And they are determined to get a Republican elected to the presidency in 2016 who shares their interests.
They are putting a bit of their ample treasure into candidate campaign warchests in the hopes of making that happen, according to a study of Federal Election Commission filings by the Greenpeace/Center for Media and Democracy reported on by Ed Pilkington at The Guardian:
Eight out of the 17 GOP figures currently jostling for their party’s presidential nomination have between them attracted a bonanza of at least $62m so far this year from sources either directly involved in polluting industries or with close financial ties to them. Three Republican contenders stand out as recipients of this fossil fuel largesse: the Republican climate change denier-in-chief, Ted Cruz; the party establishment favorite Jeb Bush; and the former governor of Texas, Rick Perry.The funds have come from just 17 billionaires or businesses that have pumped enormous sums—in one case $15m for a single candidate—into the support groups or Super Pacs that work alongside the official campaigns yet are free to attract unlimited contributions. The $62m forms a substantial chunk of almost $400m that has been given to presidential contenders from both main parties in 2015, raising questions about the leverage that fossil fuel interests might seek to exert over the next occupant of the White House at a critical time for the battle against climate change. […]
Connor Gibson, the Greenpeace researcher who oversaw the Greenpeace/Center for Media and Democracy study, said that fossil fuel industries were pouring money into the 2016 election cycle in unprecedented quantities. “To see so much money flowing into the war chests of viable Republican candidates so early in the race from people linked to climate change pollution is very concerning.”
These ultra-wealthy donors have made their fortunes in a wide array of fossil fuel operations, including fracking, drilling and other activities of carbon-emitting industries. All their contributions have gone to Republicans.
The candidates who have received the most?
- Ted Cruz – $36.5 million for four sources
- Jeb Bush – $13.3 million for nine sources
- Rick Perry – $6 million from one source
Cruz and Perry have voiced what can best be described as nutty climate-change denialism, just a half step away from Sen. Jim Inhofe’s (R-OK) claims that global warming is an outright hoax. Bush has been a bit cagier. But his pronouncements amount to the same thing policy-wise.