On election night, polluter-backed candidates lost in some of the most expensive races targeted by polluters, despite outside ad spending that tallied to $270 million.
The American Petroleum Institute already has 2014 in its sights, and it is spending aggressively to protect the oil industry’s multi-billion-dollar tax breaks. Three weeks since election day, API has spent $3 million on TV ads, according to a ThinkProgress analysis of Kantar Media’s CMAG data. That is already $1 million more than what API spent in the final two months of the election, as part of its “I’m an Energy Voter” campaign.
A bulk of the spending, $600,000, targets specific senators over Big Oil’s $4 billion annual tax breaks, all of whom are up for reelection in 2014. All but two voted in March to end oil subsidies, a vote blocked by 47 senators who have taken more than $23.5 million from the oil and gas industry.
Here is an example of one ad directed at Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA):
NARRATOR: America spoke loudly. Clearly, we want a commonsense plan to help people succeed. Senator Mark Warner can make energy a big part of improving our economy. He can choose economic growth and American jobs, not slow them with job-killing energy taxes. Let’s take advantage of America’s energy resources to power growth. American energy – not higher taxes on energy – will create jobs. Let’s get to work.
Ending the industry’s tax breaks would not affect Americans’ gas prices, or kill jobs. Factcheck.org writes that “nonpartisan congressional analysts and industry experts say higher taxes would have little or no effect on gasoline prices.” And at the same time oil enjoyed low tax rates and earned high profits, Exxon, Shell, and BP still shed 17,500 jobs.
ExxonMobil, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips have paid federal tax rates well below the 35 percent top corporate rate. ExxonMobil, for instance, paid a 13 percent tax rate in 2011, after drilling deductions and benefits, and 14 percent on average between 2008 and 2010.
Since November 6, the states seeing at least $20,000 worth of API ads have either a senator or governor up for reelection in 2014:
*North Carolina: $165,400
New York: $127,960
*New Mexico: 29,520
*Ads specifically mention senators by name.