In another important milestone, Congressman Denny Rehberg hits the Top 40! A report by the Center For Responsive Politics tallies up the donations to House members by the energy sector and how they voted on the American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) act. It seems that members who voted against the bill received twice as much in contributions from the energy lobby as those who voted for. Among the top 40 recipients of energy sector lobbying money, 32 voted against the bill, exactly the opposite of the 40 receiving the least energy money. Of the bottom 40, 32 voted for the bill. Coincidence?
Our own Congresman Denny ranked 37th out of 435, on the list of favored recipients. He has received over $500,000 from energy sector lobbyists since he has been in office, including $255,000 from the oil and gas lobby and of course, he voted against ACES. Denny has received a whopping $500 from alternative energy lobbies and $0 from environmental groups. Don’t feel too sorry for Denny for only ranking 37th on the money list. The totals are based on collections since 1989 and since he has only been on the job since 2001, he is still moving up the ladder. The top earner was Joe Barton (R) of Texas who has pulled in almost $4 million for his voting record. Denny still has a ways to go.
The group of 34 energy companies fighting the Waxman-Markey bill (ACES) has spent $24 million in lobbying funds and $4 million in campaign donations since January. The American Petroleum Institute alone spent over $1.8 million lobbying against energy regulation in the first quarter of this year. The 34 companies are spending a combined $260,000 a day lobbying Congress.
Lest we forget the other side of the aisle, Common Cause reports that the energy industry has made over $2 million in donations to the nineteen members of the Senate Public Works Committee which has jurisdiction over the legislation in the Senate. Our committee member, Senator Max Baucus has received nearly $300,000 from the energy lobby since 2007. This might be a good time to sit down and compose a nice polite missive to Senator Baucus and let him know how much Montana enjoys a clean environment and would appreciate his support of the Waxman-Markey energy bill. The bill will come up for a senate vote this fall.