Yes-on-Prop-23 campaigners “very thankful” for out-of-state oil companies’ funding

This is a ThinkProgress cross post.

On Election Day, California voters will be asked to consider a ballot measure that would essentially scrap the state’s landmark clean energy legislation, passed with broad bipartisan support in 2006, which has helped the state create thousands of green jobs and become a global leader in green technology. The campaign behind the measure, known as Prop. 23, has been funded almost entirely by Texas-based oil companies Valero and Tesoro, Ohio-based Marathon energy, and Kansas-based Koch Industries, owned by right-wing megafunders Charles and David Koch.

Last month, the state’s Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger blasted these out-of-state companies for meddling in California’s election, saying their involvement is motivated purely by “self-serving greed.” “Does anyone really believe that these companies, out of the goodness of their black oil hearts, are spending millions and millions of dollars to protect our jobs?” Schwarzenegger said, noting that proponents of the proposition say it will help create jobs.

Today, ThinkProgress attended a tea party rally in support of Prop. 23 outside the California Environmental Protection Agency in downtown Sacramento. The event was organized by the conservative anti-tax Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, a key player in the Yes on 23 campaign, along with the Northern California Tea Party Patriots, and the California Dump Truck Owners Association. When asked by ThinkProgress about the out-of-state oil funding, representatives from each organizations didn’t deny it “” in fact they were very grateful for the help:

– President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association Jon Coupal, who spoke at the press conference: “Yes, do some people in the petroleum industry support us? You bet! “¦ And we’re very thankful for their support”

-California Dump Truck Owners Association’s Betty Plowman, who also spoke at the event: “We’re broke” and need financial support, she said, so “thank God they came in.”

-NorCal Tea Party Patriots Campaign Coordinator Steve Cavolt: “Sure” he’s grateful, he said. “What difference does it make whether its coming from wherever if they do business in this state? Of course.” He also said that it’s “already been proven that that global warming is a hoax. It’s a scam.”

Watch a compilation of the protestors marching, Coupal, and Cavolt (Plowman asked not to be filmed):

Everyone ThinkProgress spoke with at the event noted that the Yes on 23 campaign is backed by a “broad coalition” of businesses, manufacturers, and taxpayer groups beyond the oil companies. While several dozen California organizations and individuals have indeed signed onto the campaign, their financial contributions are dwarfed by that of the out-of-state oil companies.

As the Los Angeles Times noted yesterday, “Valero is by far the largest contributor “” giving more than three times as much as the next biggest funder, San Antonio-based Tesoro Inc. The third biggest contributor is Flint Hills Resources, a subsidiary of the Kansas-based Koch Industries.” As of last month, 97 percent of the Yes campaign’s funding came from oil, while 89 percent came from out of state. Valero, Tesoro and Koch alone accounted for 80 percent of total contributions.

ThinkProgress filed this report from Sacramento, CA.

Here are five things you can do to win this fight:

  1. Visit the “No on 23″³ website, learn the facts & sign up:
  2. Educate yourself on how California’s climate & energy laws have created companies & jobs:
  3. Tell your friends by email, on Facebook, at work, & everywhere else.
  4. Participate in the debate. Write letters to the editor and post comments on blogs & websites.
  5. Contribute (click here). The other side’s leader, right-wing California Assemblyman Dan Logue, has publicly said he expects the oil companies to spend $50 million.

11 Responses to Yes-on-Prop-23 campaigners “very thankful” for out-of-state oil companies’ funding

  1. Mike Roddy says:

    Go Ahnold! I wish the Democrats in Washington would use the same forceful language that he does.

  2. Some European says:

    Off topic, sorry:

    Former Spanish President Jose Maria Aznar to Chair Global Adaptation Institute Advisory Council

    I’ve just read this and it’s quite puzzling.
    Everybody knows Aznar, his party and his follow-up presidential candidate Mariano Rajoy are outright climate deniers.
    Aznar is also famous for having ignored mass protests and 95%+ poll results agaisnt Spanish participation in the Iraq war.

    I’m waiting for some in depth analysis to understand whether this means a Lomborghian U-turn or whether he’s just after the economic opportunities. Notice the focus on adaptation rather than mitigation. maybe he wants to go into the dyke-building business.

    In any case, the Spanish Minister of Environment, Elena Espinosa, has already reacted with cynicism saying it seemed like December 28th (the equivalent of April fools’ day). She said Aznar and Rajoy are ‘denialists’ and that ‘they can’t contribute in any way’.

  3. bill green says:

    I would be happier to see a focus on the (de)merits of prop 23, rather than whether the funding behind the initiative is in-state or out-of-state. The funding thing takes one down a slippery road — does TP/CP you oppose Jim Oberstar for reelction to Congress solely because virtually all of his recent financial support comes from outside his district?

    Indeed, prop 23 reminds me a bit about proposition 87 back in 2006. Vinod Khlosa, a venture capitalist with significant investments in alternative energy, strongly promoted this measure and his co-investors were big funders of the Yes on 87 campaign. ALthough the proposition was ultimately defeated, did ThinkProgress and/or CLimate Progress oppose it based on the direct interests of its key funders in passage, or support it based on their agreement with its substance?

    Bottom Line: Whether we are talking prop 23 in 2010 or prop 87 in 2006, substance has to be the primary basis of a position on policy issues. I thinking blog should focus on the meat of the issue, not the sizzle.

    [JR: First off, I’m quite sure CP has blogged more on the substance of Prop 23 than any other major blog in the country. Click here for all the posts. Second, with CA ballot measures, it certainly is germane to Californians that this initiative was bankrolled by out-of-state oil companies and that in the state businesses do not support it.]

  4. A Siegel says:

    And, well, what about Prop 26, which would be as destructive? With all the attention to Prop 23 is there a risk that Prop 26 slips through?

  5. TomG says:

    In my opinion, if prop 23 had any merit it wouldn’t need any out of state funding.

  6. Colorado Bob says:

    Some 400 to 968 millimeters of rain has fallen on central Vietnam since Thursday, officials said, with some parts of Ha Tinh and Nghe An provinces reporting up to 2 metres of rainfall.,vietnam-storms-summary.html

  7. Colorado Bob says:

    “If you know anyone in America who says they can’t be bothered to vote, ask them, ‘What planet are you living on?'”

    Bill Clinton in Calf. yesterday.

  8. Peter M says:

    The ‘Guvernator’ has some cojones, standing up to Koch industries and other energy industrial complex special interests.

    The meek behavior of so many in Washington-including weak kneed Democrats is appalling. The Democrats have become a useless political party for the most part- cowering before anyone who says ‘boo’ to them.

  9. Vicki says:

    Many Democrats are plenty tough Peter. Some are Blue a change with real Democrats. Democrats are fighting and I am fighting for Democrats because they are the only ones standing up for our environment. Republicans have gone to the dark side always doing the bidding for oil, gas, coal and any other industry over people or our environment.

  10. Yes2Green says:

    Not voting yes on Prop 23 will send us back to the stone ages over energy production, consumption and the progression of renewable energies

  11. Peter M says:


    no offense- but the number of Democrats that are tough today – are few and far between.

    Earl Warren-appointed by Eisenhower would be far to the left of just about every Democrat today-please take notice.