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Energy companies aren’t green, they give green

April 23, 2010

A day after celebrating the 40th anniversary of Earth Day it is important to take a look at the efforts by big energy companies and so-called alternative energy companies to influence candidates through campaign donations and lobbying.

The Center for Responsive Politics provides us with good data on both counts. Since 1990, energy companies have contributed half a billion dollars to candidates, with Republicans receiving about twice as much as Democrats. Over $77 million was given to candidates in the 2008 elections and just over $27 million has already reached candidates in the 2010 election cycle.

Here is a list of the top 20 energy companies and their campaign contributions.

Rank Organization Amount Dems Repubs Source
Indivs
PACs
Soft $
1 National Rural Electric Cooperative Assn $770,650 53% 47%
2 Exelon Corp $566,448 66% 34%
3 Koch Industries $539,900 19% 81%
4 Southern Co $532,169 46% 54%
5 American Electric Power $477,085 58% 42%
6 Duke Energy $468,160 52% 48%
7 Exxon Mobil $436,294 14% 85%
8 Dominion Resources $431,886 62% 37%
9 Chevron Corp $402,159 17% 83%
10 EnergySolutions Inc $361,800 29% 71%
11 Energy Future Holdings Corp $359,866 50% 50%
12 FPL Group $358,096 47% 53%
13 Edison International $356,800 64% 36%
14 Valero Energy $338,800 19% 81%
15 Edison Electric Institute $325,373 63% 37%
16 Marathon Oil $318,670 23% 77%
17 Progress Energy $304,770 53% 47%
18 Entergy Corp $287,365 67% 33%
19 Occidental Petroleum $266,250 23% 77%
20 DTE Energy $250,376 65% 35%

Some of the major recipients in Congress of the energy companies campaign contributions in 2010 have been Senators Murkowski, Lincoln, Dorgan, and Reid. In the House of Representatives the list includes Boucher, Barton, Edwards, Cantor and Stover.

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow has received $71,096 from energy companies so far in 2010 and there is no data for Senator Levin. Congressman Ehlers has received a total of $9,300 this year.

On the lobbying front, big oil leads all energy sectors followed by electric utilities. You can see from the chart the gradual increase in lobby spending by this sector, with figures over $400 million in 2009.

The number of lobbyist for 2009 in the energy sector was 2,302 and has remained over 2,000 since 2002.

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