"Eric Cantor Rails Against the EPA in Defense of His Biggest Oil and Gas Campaign Donors"
by Adam Smith, in a cross-post from the Public Campaign Action Fund
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) had an op-ed in the Washington Post Sunday attacking President Barack Obama’s policy agenda.
If read with the Center for Responsive Politics website opened right next to you, the op-ed could also look like a defense of some of Cantor’s biggest campaign contributors.
There is no other conclusion for policies such as the new Environmental Protection Agency regulations, including the “Transport Rule,” which could eliminate thousands of jobs, or the ozone regulation that would cost upward of $1 trillion and millions of jobs in the construction industry over the next decade. The administration’s new maximum achievable control technology standards for cement are expected to affect nearly 100 cement plants, setting over-the-top requirements resulting in increased costs and possibly thousands of jobs being offshored.
Cantor and his leadership political action committee, Every Republican is Crucial (ERIC) PAC, received $180,900 in campaign contributions from oil and gas companies and $243,098 from electric utilities in 2010 and $169,350 from the two industries so far in 2011. During his career in Congress, Cantor’s campaign committee has received $355,00 from oil and gas interests and $426,404 from electric utilities.
These industries would benefit from a weak EPA, something Republicans in the House have repeatedly tried to achieve since they took power in January.
There is the president’s silence as the National Labor Relations Board seeks to prevent Boeing from opening a plant in South Carolina that would create thousands of jobs.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) released an opinion in April stating that Boeing broke federal labor law by retaliating against union workers when it decided to move its operations to South Carolina from Washington State, something that would move good paying jobs in one state to a state with lower wages, fewer benefits, and less ability for workers to organize.
Cantor and his leadership PAC received $21,565 in Boeing donations in 2010. He has received $5,000 from Boeing PAC so far this year.
Republicans passed a budget this spring, written by Rep. Paul Ryan, that would address our challenges head-on by putting in place common-sense reforms to manage our debt over the short and long term.
The president has acknowledged that without reform, spending on entitlement programs is unsustainable. But he has also made clear that he would never support the type of structural changes to Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security needed to make these programs solvent as envisioned in our budget — even if Republicans agree to his demand for tax increases.
To “address our challenges,” the Ryan budget that Cantor voted for ended Medicare as we know it, which would be a boon to insurance companies. Cantor can count Blue Cross/Blue Shield as a top career donor, with its PAC and executives donating $94,750 to the Congressman’s campaign committee during his time in Congress. In the 2010 cycle and through the first part of 2011, Cantor and his PAC have received $810,325 from insurance interests, including $55,000 from Blue Cross donors.
But the politics of division have reared up, fueled by efforts to incite class warfare. For example, though he often talks about millionaires, billionaires and corporate jet owners paying their “fair share,” behind closed doors the president admits to wanting to raise taxes on individuals making $200,000 per year and families and small businesses earning $250,000 per year.
If anyone knows about people not paying their “fair share,” it’s Eric Cantor. In the 2010 election cycle, Cantor received at least $254,000 in campaign contributions from the PACs and executives of ten of the country’s most egregious tax-dodging corporations. That’s $103,150 from Goldman Sachs donors, a company that paid just 1.1% of its 2008 income of $2.3 billion in taxes. He got $20,300 from GE donors, who notoriously paid no taxes last year. The list goes on.
We well know that the Republican majority was not elected to raise taxes or take more money out of the pockets of hardworking families and business people. We were elected to change the way Washington does business and spends money.
In February 2010, Eric Cantor told the Wall Street Journal that Wall Street donors were having “buyer’s remorse” for contributing so much money to Democrats. A few months later, a Public Campaign analysis found that this turned out to be one heck of a fundraising pitch. “Cantor received more than $460,000 from the financial sector during the second quarter of 2010. That total represents a ’32 percent increase from the average of the previous five quarters.’”
Republicans may have come into office “to change the way Washington does business,” but they did so funded by Wall Street billionaires and oil tycoons—and with any number of efforts to weaken or repeal financial reform, kill the EPA, and keep wasteful oil subsidies in place—it just seems like business as usual.
— Adam Smith, communications director for the Public Campaign Action Fund