A handful of outside groups, fueled by oil and coal dollars, are committing tens of millions to propel Big Oil to the forefront of the 2012 elections — outspending the Obama campaign on political energy ads by an overwhelming amount.
In the first three-and-a-half months of 2012, groups including Americans for Prosperity, American Petroleum Institute, Crossroads GPS, and American Energy Alliance have spent $16,750,000 on energy attack ads. The total amounts to more than $56 million, including the American Clean Coal Coalition’s pledge of $40 million on ads promoting coal.
According to a Think Progress analysis, there have been at least $16,750,000 worth in dirty energy ad buys since January:
American Petroleum Institute spent $4.3 million since January, reported by the Washington Post.
Crossroads GPS has spent a total $2.85 million since January, with three major ad buys. Crossroads spent $500,000 distorting the administration’s Solyndra record, $650,000 on gas prices, and $1.7 million promoting “drill, baby drill.”
Americans For Prosperity: $6 million on an ad distorting Obama’s Solyndra record, which ran in at least six states. This followed an earlier $2.4 million Solyndra ad in November, which was not included in the total count.
Other groups have pledged to spend millions more this election cycle, and will include ads focusing on promoting pro-oil and coal interests:
U.S. Chamber of Commerce has committed to spend more than $50 million this year on a range of issues. So far it has targeted several lawmakers, including Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), who faced $2.5 million of ads against him for wanting to end oil subsidies. In February, it spent $200,000 ads promoting Rep. Rick Berg (R-ND) for his pro-oil stance.
American Coalition For Clean Coal Electricity: $40 million overall campaign to push coal interests to the forefront of the presidential campaign.
Oil billionaires Charles and David Koch “plan to pump at least $100 million through their network of independent groups” which include Americans for Prosperity and the American Energy Alliance.
Ad spending this cycle has skyrocketed 1600 percent compared to the 2008 race, partly due to oil and gas’s serious money to elect a candidate committed to putting oil’s profits first.