Gutting Clean Air?

A Look at Big Oil and Coal Interests Influence at the House Energy and Commerce Committee

February 8, 2011

(Download the full report)

On Wednesday, February 9th, the Energy and Power Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on the "Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011," legislation that would strip the Environmental Protection Agency of some of its rule making abilities and weaken the Clean Air Act.(1)

Members of the Subcommittee, and the House Energy and Commerce Committee at-large, have benefitted from millions in campaign contributions from the energy industry and have close ties to industry lobbyists.(2)

Summary:

  • Members of the Energy and Power Subcommittee have received $12.2 million in campaign contributions from oil & gas, coal, and electric utilities industries during their time in Congress.
  • Republicans on the Energy and Power Subcommittee have received, on average, nearly $100,000 more in campaign cash from the oil and gas industry than their Democratic counterparts.
  • Subcommittee Chair Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) has benefitted from $218,333 in campaign contributions from the sectors the committee represents during his time in Congress. Three of his former aides now work as lobbyists for firms that include energy companies.
  • Koch Industries, and the organizations they support, have close ties to subcommittee members, providing campaign contributions and money to organizations that ran attack ads on their behalf in 2010.

(The full spreadsheet of committee members and their campaign contributions is available at www.campaignmoney.org/reports/guttingcleanair/data.)

Key Facts: Energy and Power Subcommittee

Members of the Energy and Power Subcommittee have taken million of dollars in campaign contributions from energy interests under their jurisdiction.

  • Members of the Energy and Power Subcommittee have taken $5,699,750 from the oil and gas industry throughout their careers.
  • Members of the Energy and Power Subcommittee have taken $6,526,148 from the coal and electric utilities industries throughout their careers.

Republicans on the Energy and Power Subcommittee have received considerably more support than Democrats from energy interests.

Industry

Career to GOP

Career to Democrats

Oil & Gas

$4,224,096

$1,475,654

Coal & Electric Utilities

$3,501,986

$3,024,162

Total

$7,726,082

$4,499,816

 

Industry

Average to GOP

Average to Democrats

Average to all Subcmte Members

Oil & Gas

$281,606

$147,654

$227,900

Coal & Electric Utilities

$233,465

$302,416

$261,045

Chair of the Energy and Power Subcommittee, Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), has received $218,133 from energy interests covered under his committee during his career in Congress and has close ties to the industry.

  • Brook Simmons, a former spokesman for Rep. Whitfield, is a lobbyist with Capitol Decisions. The firm's clients include the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association.
  • Juliane Carter Sullivan, a former legislative assistant to Rep. Whitfield, is a lobbyist with Akin, Gump. The firm's clients include Chevron, Hess Corp, Royal Dutch Shell. 
  • Sydney White, a former legislative assistant to Rep. Whitfield, is a lobbyist with DLA Piper. The firm's clients include Colonial Oil Industries (petroleum wholesale) and Northville Industries (petroleum wholesale).

Freshmen Republican members of the Energy and Power Subcommittee received significant support from energy interests, especially oil & gas, in their successful campaigns for Congress.

Member

Oil & Gas

Coal & Electric Utilities

Cory Gardner (R-Colo.)

$154,174

$9,000

Morgan Griffith (R-Va.)

$17,400

$16,000

David McKinley (R-W.Va.)

$18,450

$18,701

Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.)

$184,700

$5,500

Koch Industries, which is heavily invested in the petroleum and refining industries and whose owners are noted climate change deniers, has close ties to members of the Energy and Power Subcommittee, particularly its Republicans.

  • Koch Industries-linked groups spent heavily to support Republican members of the Energy and Power Subcommittee in 2010.
    • Americans for Prosperity spent $111,497 to support Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.). 
    • Freedom Works spent $3,544 to support freshman committee member Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.).
    • Americans for Prosperity spent $5000 to support Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.).
  • Rep. Mike Pompeo, a newly elected Republican congressman on the Energy and Power Subcommittee, has close ties to Koch Industries.
    • His chief of staff is Mark Chenoweth, a former Koch Industries lawyer."(3)
    • Rep. Pompeo, who represents the Koch Industries' home district, launched an aerospace company with investment from a Koch subsidiary,(4) a company he later sold.
    • After the sale of the company, Pompeo became the President of Sentry International, a business specializing in the manufacture and sale of equipment used in oilfields. Sentry International is a partner to Koch Industries through its Brazilian subsidiary, GTF Representacoes & Consultoria."(5)

Subcommittee member Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) attended a Washington, D.C. fundraiser hosted by BP lobbyist Dan Meyer (of the Duberstein Group) and the Koch Industries PAC in June 2010; during the height of the BP oil spill disaster.(6)

Subcommittee member Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), who famously apologized to BP executives at a House hearing on the oil disaster(7), has received more than $1.4 million from energy interests during his time in Washington.

Key Facts: Energy and Commerce Committee

Members of the Energy and Commerce Committee have taken million of dollars in campaign contributions from energy interests under their jurisdiction.

  • Members of the Energy and Commerce Committee have taken $8,298,885 from the oil and gas industry throughout their careers.
  • Members of the Energy and Commerce Committee have taken $10,653,489 from the coal and electric utilities industries throughout their careers.

Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee have received considerably more support than Democrats from energy interests.

Industry

Career to GOP Committee Members

Career to Dem Committee Members

Oil & Gas

$6,016,733

$2,282,152

Coal & Electric Utilities

$5,894,297

$4,759,192

Total

$11,911,030

$7,041,344

 

Industry

Average to GOP Members

Average to Dem Members

Average to all Members

Oil & Gas

$194,088

$99,224

$153,583

Coal & Electric Utilities

$190,138

$206,921

$197,286

The newly elected Republican members of the Energy and Commerce Committee received significant support from energy interests, especially oil & gas, in their successful campaigns for Congress.

Member

Oil & Gas

Coal & Electric Utilities

Cory Gardner (R-Colo.)

$154,174

$9,000

Morgan Griffith (R-Va.)

$17,400

$16,000

Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.)

$18,000

$9,832

David McKinley (R-W.Va.)

$18,450

$18,701

Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.)

$184,700

$5,500

Former staffers of Chairman Rep. Fred Upton currently serve as lobbyists for the energy sector.

  • Scott Aliferis, a former legislative director for Rep. Upton, is a lobbyist with K&L Gates. The firm represents McDermott International (energy and power construction), Peabody Energy and Greenfields Coal.
  • Howard Cohen, a current special assistant for Rep. Upton, is a former lobbyist with both Greenberg Traurig and Verner Liipfert, both of which represented multiple energy companies during his employment.

Former staffers of Rep. Joe Barton, the second Republican ranking member of the committee, currently serve as lobbyists for the energy sector.

  • Trace Anderson, a former intern for Rep. Barton, is a lobbyist with Cassidy & Assoc. The firm represents Doe Run Co. (mining), Great Basin Transmission (utilities), and Hunt Consolidated (oil).
  • Jeffrey MacKinnon, a former legislative director for Rep. Barton, is a lobbyist with Ryan, Phillips. The firm's clients include numerous electric utilities, including Dominion Resources, Edison Electric Institute, Energy Future Holdings, and Entergy.
  • Rich Nolan, a former staff for Rep. Barton, is an in-house lobbyist for the National Mining Association.
  • Dennis Stephens, a former legislative director for Rep. Barton, is a lobbyist with K&L Gates. The firm represents McDermott International (energy and power construction), Peabody Energy and Greenfields Coal.
  • Stephen Waguespack, a former legislative director for Rep. Barton, is a lobbyist with the Alpine Group. The firm's clients include British Gas North America, BP, and Duke Energy.

Koch Industries, which is heavily invested in the petroleum and refining industries, has close ties to members of the Energy and Commerce Committee, particularly its Republicans.

  • Koch Industries has made substantial campaign contributions to committee members. In total, Koch Industries and its employees gave $279,500 to Republicans and $32,000 to the Democrats on the panel—the largest single oil and gas donor to committee members.(8)
  • Rep. Fred Upton, the new chairman of the committee, received $20,000 in 2010 from Koch Industries and has changed from being a moderate on environmental issues to an extremist.
    • "Perhaps the Kochs' most surprising and important ally on the committee is its new chairman, Rep. Fred Upton. The Republican from Michigan, who was once criticized by conservatives for his middle-of-the-road approach to environmental issues, is now leading the effort to rein in the EPA. Upton received $20,000 in donations from Koch employees in 2010, making them among his top 10 donors in that cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics."(9)
  • Koch Industries-linked groups spent heavily to support Republican committee members in 2010.
    • Americans for Prosperity spent $111,497 to support Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.).
    • Americans for Prosperity spent $75,762 to support committee member Rep. Charlie Bass (R-N.H.).
    • Freedom Works spent $3,544 to support freshman committee member Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.)
    • Americans for Prosperity spent $5000 to support Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.).
    • Americans for Prosperity spent $8,400 to support Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.).
  • Nine of 12 new Republicans on the committee have signed a letter circulated by a Koch Industries-funded group pledging to oppose regulation of greenhouse gasses.
    • "Nine of the 12 new Republicans on the panel signed a pledge distributed by a Koch-founded advocacy group — Americans for Prosperity — to oppose the Obama administration's proposal to regulate greenhouse gases." (10)

Footnotes

1. Another challenge to greenhouse gas regulation (February 3, 2011), New York Times. Available online.

2. All campaign contribution, lobbying and revolving door data from the Center For Responsive Politics, www.opensecrets.org.

3. Koch Brothers now at heart of GOP power (February 6, 2011), Los Angeles Times. Available online.

4. Ibid.

5. Ibid.

6. Luncheon for Cory Gardner. Invitation acquired by PoliticalPartyTime.org. Available online.

7. Rep. Barton apologizes to BP for Obama shakedown (June 17, 2010), Yahoo News. Available online.

8. Los Angeles Times, February 6, 2011.

9. Los Angeles Times, February 6, 2011

10. Ibid.