As Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) sets foot on a drilling rig off the coast of Louisiana, his “drill everywhere” message is being amplified by political spending of more than two million dollars a day by the oil and coal industries. The Public Campaign Action Fund has released a major report finding that King Coal and Big Oil have united in an attempt to buy the future:
We estimate that the coal and oil industries spent an astounding $427.2 million over the first six months of 2008 to influence public opinion and public policy.
These industries are on track to spend about a billion dollars influencing energy policy this year, with their “clean coal” and “drill drill drill” messaging. They are supporting pollution-friendly candidates and spreading false doubt about the seriousness of global warming.
This total includes the $12.2 million dollars spent in six months by Newt Gingrich’s billionaire-and-coal-funded 527 corporation, American Solutions for Winning the Future (ASWF), on its “Drill Here, Drill Now” campaign, and the $40 million that coal industry front group Americans for Balanced Energy Choices (now part of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity) pledged to spend influencing the public. It also includes John McCain’s million-dollar haul from the oil and gas industry.
The Public Campaign Action Fund’s estimate of $427.2 million fails to include the expenditures of pollution-agenda front groups that are “organized under sections of the Internal Revenue Code that do not require the public disclosure of their spending.” These groups include the likes of:
- Alliance for Energy and Economic Growth
- American Council for Capital Formation
- American Energy Alliance
- American Enterprise Institute
- Americans for Prosperity
- American Future Fund
- Business & Media Institute
- Coalition for Affordable American Energy
- Competitive Enterprise Institute
- Heartland Institute
- Institute for Energy Research
- National Association of Manufacturers
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Therefore the Public Campaign’s estimate is rather conservative.