While Green Groups Go to Bat in Elections, Corporations Undermine Them

While Tom Steyer’s climate Super Pac and the League of Conservation Voters work hard to get climate leaders elected in November, many of the corporations that tout their green credentials are supporting the very candidates that should be defeated.

Google, Ford, Microsoft, UPS and eBay, for example, are actively funding candidates who deny the science of climate change, according to the report, "Disrupt Denial: How Big Business is Funding Climate Change Denial in the 113th Congress," by Forecast the Facts Action and SumOfUs.org.

Since 2008, these representatives in Congress have received over $640 million dollars in campaign contributions from US  businesses and their employees. Surprisingly, about 90% of these contributions come from outside the fossil fuel industry, including these: 

The companies would say, of course, that they are financing candidates that support their interests in other areas.

"Companies that have commitments on climate change, from cleaning up their own operations to supporting governmental action, are undermining their promises by funding the climate change denying caucus in Congress," says Brant Olson of Forecast the Facts Action. "We are calling on these companies to stop funding climate change denying politicians so that we can move closer to solving the climate crisis."

"The willingness of wealthy contributors to supply funding for climate change denial, and the eagerness of Senators and House Representatives in both parties to receive that funding, has corrupted responsible, effective governance, motivating elected officials to respond to the wishes of financial backers, as opposed to the needs of their constituents," adds Paul Ferris of SumOfUs.org. 

160 members of the 113th Congress publicly reject the overwhelming scientific consensus that global warming is happening now, is largely man-made, and poses grave risks to humans, ecosystems and economies throughout the world.

According to Maplight, from 2008-2013:

  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) received $1.7 million from carbon-polluting interests – more than any other member of the Senate. If he’s re-elected, he will become Senate Majority Leader if Republicans win control in November. 
  • Senate Republicans received 2.4 times more money from carbon-polluting interests ($22 million) than Senate Democrats. 
  • Read our article, The Money Behind Yesterday’s Oil Subsidies Vote.

    Then there’s the chemical industry, which has tripled spending since 2008, to ward off regulations – in particular, the overhaul needed on the 1976 Toxic Chemicals Control Act – according to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). They plan to spend $13 million this year and have already invested in more than 6,000 ads.

    "The American Chemistry Council’s pumped-up political advertising spending, campaign contributions, and lobbying dollars make it impossible for new chemical regulations to pass without its approval," notes Melanie Sloan, Executive Director of CREW.

    The Safe Chemicals Act was introduced three times last year and now you know why it hasn’t passed. It would curtail chemicals used in everyday products with known links to cancer, learning disabilities, infertility and more, while creating incentives for new, safer chemicals.

    The group is among those pushing Green Globes as a replacement for LEED and arguing to the Supreme Court that EPA shouldn’t have authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. 

    An ad scaring people about EPA’s power plant regulations:

    Climate Radio Ad

    Take Florida, For Example

    It’s not only multinationals, of course. Utilities like Florida Power & Light (FPL) and Duke Energy, which publicly support and build solar and wind plants, are donating heavily to keep Republican Rick Scott as Governor.

    FPL and Duke have each given $1.2 million to Scott’s political action committee and the Republican Party of Florida, and TECO has contributed that amount to the Republican Party, according to Reuters.

    And they contributed more than $18 million to state-level races and party organizations from 2004-2012, two-thirds of which went to Republicans.

    Why? When Crist was in office in held a climate conference and developed programs that encourage renewable energy, which  Scott dismantled when he became Governor. Instead, he supported rate hikes for utilities that pay for nuclear plants, natural gas pipelines and the like.

    "For the last five election cycles, these electric utilities have been  among the largest donors to state-level campaigns in Florida," says Integrity Florida. 

    Find out which companies are financially supporting climate change deniers in Congress:

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