It’s Just Upping the Ante


The Politico published a pretty interesting analysis that used data from the Center for Responsive Politics to show how green energy interests are upping in pretty dramatic ways the amount of money they spend lobbying Congress. Despite these large increases, however, they remain vastly over spent by the oil and gas and coal mining industries. Think of it as the arms race applied to the world of money and politics.

The alternative energy industry has increased their lobbying outlays eightfold over the past ten years, going from $2 million to almost $16 million. For instance, the American Wind Energy Association spent over $815,000 on lobbying efforts, and the National Biodiesel Board spent more than $1,235,000.

Along with lobbying, the alternative energy sector has increased its giving of campaign contributions. So far in the 2008 election cycle, green energy has shelled out almost $528,000 to federal candidates, and is on the pace to match its giving high-water mark of almost $957,000 in 2000 when Al Gore was running for president. In 1998, the industry gave just over $308,000 in contributions.

In 1998, the alternative energy sector accounted for $308,000 in donations to candidates. So far this cycle, green industry donors have given nearly $528,000 – putting them on track to match or surpass their high water mark of nearly $957,000 in 2000, when global warming guru Al Gore topped the Democratic presidential ticket.

As impressive as these increases might be, they continue to be dwarfed by the traditional energy giants: oil and gas ($82,620,985 in 2007 for lobbying, $11,534,676 in contributions so far this cycle) and coal mining ($10,898,700 in 2007 for lobbying, $1,617,787 in contributions this cycle).

As you can see, the old energy industries of oil and gas and coal invest heavily in Congress. And thanks to a Capital Eye article written by CRP’s Lindsay Renick Mayer we now know that members of Congress invest their personal wealth heavily in old energy too. Lawmakers’ personal financial disclosure reports show they have "at least 45 times more money invested in the oil and gas industry (at least $20.6 million) than in public companies that provide "green" products and services (at least $452,100)," Mayer writes.

And so the beat goes on.