Polluters Get A 'Thumping'
November 9, 2006 - 6:54pm ET
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"President Bush wasn’t the only one who took a 'thumping' on Election Day," says Clean Air Watch president and TomPaine.com contributor Frank O'Donnell. "Some of the biggest-spending big polluters also took a drubbing. In many cases, their political action committees backed candidates who were tossed out. In fact, many of them backed the same losing candidates." Here's what O'Donnell's analysis of campaign finance reports has uncovered. (All this information comes from Federal Election Commission records tabulated by the Center for Responsive Politics.)
• ExxonMobil, which by mid-October had reported spending $562,000 on federal candidates (92 percent of it to Republicans) supported a string of losing Republican Senate candidates: George Allen, Conrad Burns, Lincoln Chafee, Mike DeWine, Thomas Kean Jr., Mark Kennedy, Michael McGavick, John Raese, Rick Santorum, Michael Steele and Jim Talent. Among the losing House recipients of $10,000 from ExxonMobil: Richard Pombo, the anti-environment chairman of the House Resources Committee, Rick O’Donnell and Michael Sodrel.
• Duke Energy, which recently was before the Supreme Court in a big air pollution case, spent through its political action committee $283,000 (79 percent to Republicans). Bad bets included Allen, Burns, Chafee, DeWine, Kean, Kennedy, Santorum, Steele and Talent. Like ExxonMobil, Duke also poured big money into Rep. Heather Wilson, R-N.M., whose race is still too close to call.
• The Southern Company, considered by many as the most politically wired power company in America, spent $162,000 (77 percent to Republicans). Its PAC's slate of losers also included Allen, Burns, DeWine, Kean, Kennedy, McGavick, Santorum, Steele and Talent as well as Harold Ford. Maybe its worst bet was its early contribution to Tom DeLay.
"Now if these companies were Borat (the fictitious journalist from Kazakhstan, now of movie fame), they would probably turn to the Democrats next and say 'I like-a you. You like-a my check?'," O'Donnell remarks in his daily e-mail update. "And then they would have the ceremonial running of the elephants."
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