ThinkProgress filed this report from Sacramento, CA.
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.