According to tax records and other materials acquired by Bloomberg News, Koch Industries, Exxon Mobil, and numerous other corporations paid tens of thousands of dollars to write legislation for lawmakers that would repeal carbon pollution reduction programs in various states around the U.S.
These companies working to dismantle environmental programs are members of the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, which allows private-sector parties to “pay-to-play” – charging thousands of dollars to sit at the table with legislators and craft bills.
According to Bloomberg News, Exxon Mobil donated $39,000 to ALEC last year and the Koch Charitable Foundation donated $75,858 in 2009, the final year in which tax documents were available. Both companies, along with BP, the American Petroleum Institute and the American Coalition for Clean Coal Energy helped draft legislation that has been introduced in Oregon, New Hampshire, Washington State and New Mexico designed to take those states out of regional cap and trade programs:
The eight-paragraph resolution, which was introduced in March, said “there has been no credible economic analysis of the costs associated with carbon reduction mandates” and “a tremendous amount of economic growth would be sacrificed for a reduction in carbon emissions that would have no appreciable impact on global concentrations of carbon dioxide.”
The model resolution was adopted by ALEC’s Natural Resources task force in April 2010, according to minutes from the meeting obtained by Bloomberg.
The group drafting and endorsing it included 13 legislators from states including Texas, Kansas and Indiana and 21 private sector members representing companies such as Exxon Mobil, Koch Industries and BP Plc (BP/), and trade groups including American Electric Power, the American Petroleum Institute and the American Coalition for Clean Coal Energy.
In April, Think Progress Green reported on a bill in New Hampshire written partially by ALEC that would take the state out of the Northeastern cap and trade program called RGGI. The text was eventually removed due to pressure, and earlier this month New Hampshire Governor John Lynch vetoed another piece of legislation that would have taken NH out of RGGI.
There are five climate change-related “model laws” on the ALEC website and a couple dozen on energy, water and forestry. The pieces of legislation can only be accessed by people who have paid to be a part of the organization. ALEC has also written a model bill that would pull state agencies from potential EPA greenhouse gas regulations.
ALEC has been crafting legislation since the 1990’s. The organization retains about 2,000 state politicians as members and 300 companies and political advocacy groups as members. ALEC claims to be a bi-partisan group; however, Bloomberg points out that 97 percent of corporate donations among ALEC members to lawmakers went to Republicans.
Corporations are “paying for an opportunity to connect directly with legislators,” said Jeremy Kalin, a former Democratic Minnesota state representative. “It’s an end-run around transparency and disclosure laws. Corporate interests that would otherwise be required to register as lobbyists are writing legislation behind closed doors.”
The fact that ALEC is influencing state-level legislation through a “pay-to-play” model isn’t exactly earth-shattering news. But this latest revelation does show the direct role that corporate interests opposed to climate-mitigation efforts are playing in the political process.
Below are earlier comments from the Facebook commenting system:
This is the most disheartening news. Mr. Koch, you can keep your brand new theatre. It’s dirty oil money.
2011 Oregon House Joint Resolution 9 is in committee and has seen no activity since the beginning of the year when it was introduced (http://gov.oregonlive.com/bill/2011/HJR9/).
“Pay-to-play” is a Newspeak term. The traditional word is “corruption”.
Why isn’t anything called what it really is any longer in this country? Are we that afraid to admit how corrupt and bad things have gotten in this country? Spray it with perfume and it all smells sweet?
July 21 at 6:45pm
Yes, you are. What bothers me is you frame that in the form of a question, which implies you are not aware of this or, far more likely, you are in denial of it cause you could never bring yourself to admit something you support does not have your best interests in mind.
July 22 at 10:34am
Well, what we need to do is to NOT vote party anymore! Thousands of us are going to vote independent, write-in, whatever, because, no matter who gets elected from the Dems or Republicans, it will only get worse! The public is the only entity that can change things. We have to stop giving these guys power – they play us like fine violins, pitting us against each other – I am sick of being a Democrat – I am sick of people being Republicans, and I am rally sick of NObama and Congress! I want to be an American again, so I am choosing not to empower either party! If the people I voted into office get into office and go off the rails, then they can pay the consequences. The will not be invited back to the dance! At least we can start taking back our country.
July 22 at 4:09pm
Corruption… it’s a must for Koch Bros and friends. It’s the only way they wheel and deal.
Frankly I wish somebody would write a carbon based reduction of Koch Brothers they are doing themselves or anybody a favor by making this stupid business decision. Sheesh what idiots they are. and they should be thrown in jail for for risking everybody.
July 21 at 3:41pm
I think we all need to raise Hell. Its not right this is not the way democracy should work.
Yes it is. We voted these idiots in and since we are a capitalist society we have corporations influencing law makers. One big problem is the “Corporations United” usually referred to as “Citizens United” that make corporations just like people. People are so worried about socialism, but when the corporations have too much influence… Its almost communism but instead of government looking out for people we have corporations looking out for profit controlling our government.
July 21 at 5:45pm
Nice to see this in print. The more exposure the better. Exxon & the Koch’s like to work though front groups and be as invisible as possible. They offen say one thing in public and then do the opposite in private. They are willing to sacrifice the climate and peoples health for their companies profit.
after the gulf spill i stopped buying bp products and now i will stop buying anything that i can from exxon/moble.it is possible try to do the same.
and don’t let up even with an apology. these crooks need to disappear.
July 23 at 12:54pm
The Koch/ALEC has injected themsleves into every corner of our society from Charter Schools to paper products To Clean Air and Clean water , these people have corrupted our laws and Hijacked Our goverment and has successfully casted the American taxpayer aside like a piece of garbage.BOYCOTT all products of Koch no matter how much it hurts you and find out were ALEC plays in our society and Boycott even if it means no Votes for your favorite politican. This is War on Every America Citizen from the youngest to the oldest.
The know they could never get people to vote for their agenda so they are circumventing the entire system. They don’t even try to hide what they are doing. They know they have enough Republicans in their back pockets that they can call all the shots and no one will stop them.
July 21 at 6:48pm
yes. but stop them we must at all costs.
or soon there will be no america.
July 23 at 12:49pm
If everyone will purchase Post It Note and write on them -Boycott Koch Brothers products and this is a Koch Brothers product ,with a small note of how they have hijacked our goverment with their money and place these on their products in stores ,we can fight back this way by alerting Consumers ,but be very careful as not to be seen as store managers will become upset .We must fight back and ALEC can be dealt with on the Charter School levels get involved with your City Council Meetings and State level meeting and become vocal against these schools as they take Taxpayers money and shift it to CEO’s and our tax money is then taken out of the system and placed in Private accts. Best of Luck -America is worth the effort-
July 23 at 12:58pm
Pilotshark Out of the western blue sky
turn more light and heat on them!
1000 wavers have been issued on Obamacare.
that’s not even good enough to be considered irrelevant, melvan.
July 21 at 5:03pm
And just what are they waving?
July 21 at 5:06pm
So it doesn’t bother you that over 1000 wavers have been issued on Obamacare?
July 21 at 5:07pm
They don’t have to follow the law They’re exempt
July 21 at 5:10pm
Obama gave one to mcdonalds and walmart. more free stuff for the large corp. your boy BO did.
July 21 at 5:16pm
Ticks you off you still have to pay for a Big Mac, donit?
July 21 at 5:19pm
“leading conservatives” would never do things like that, would they melvan?
July 21 at 5:52pm
Temporary waivers for large corporations who employ tens of thousands of workers. In the end they will have to conform when their waiver expires.
July 21 at 6:20pm
Still can’t find a job and too stupid to start your own contracting business? You need to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and stop licking the boots of those who obviously think you aren’t fit to do anything else with your life but do their dirty work.
July 21 at 6:54pm
Your boys in the GOP did, Mel. Your stupidity is growing every day. Your hatred of the USA is already well-established.
July 21 at 7:04pm
how very, very tacky.
crony capitalism is fit for 3rd world hellholes,
not the land of the free and home of the brave.
Pilotshark Out of the western blue sky
land of the free and home of the brave
who sadly end up fighting for the crony capitalism cowards.
July 21 at 5:04pm
Land of the Free(market Capitalists) and the home of the brave (Offer severely limited in areas where above said FMC buys and sells any idea that might interfere with bravery that prevents profit)
July 21 at 5:10pm
ah yes.. corruption American-style.. it never ends.. and it’s to blame a great deal for the fiscal/economic situation we’re in right now..
That is only because no one else knows how to write legislation that benefits business and profits. Sort of like asking serial killers just what constitutes disgusting dismemberment and why it isn’t a bad thing.
It is time we say, without exception, the US is not for sale. Private companies, lobbyists, and anyone else who feels that throwing mega dollars into the system CAN NOT BUY THE UNITED STATES.
Pilotshark Out of the western blue sky
OT but great news from dailyKos.
THU JUL 21, 2011 AT 02:00 PM PDT.
Ohio Secretary of State certifies SB 5 referendum; new poll shows big lead for repeal.
GO OHIO! We The People are behind you!
If the Republicans hadn’t spent the past 30 years attacking education as unnecessary a 5th grader could have written more coherent climate laws. A 3rd grader could have written any other laws. And a Republican would still have to hire a 2nd grader to tell them what they mean.
Pilotshark Out of the western blue sky
well we know one candidate who will not even debate a 16 year old on the general civics.
July 21 at 5:39pm
Motivated in Ohio
Like I have said before, America has a Koch problem, and it is time for an intervention.
“The time is near at hand which must determine whether Americans are to be free men or slaves.”
Oh, Tony, that quote is right on!
July 22 at 8:30am
Subverting democracy at every turn the Krotch brothers and corporations are a cancer on America.
Time to ‘Murdoch’ these guys. Whistleblowers needed. Surely these men have ruined or killed someone you love?
Pay to play? Get a seat at the table? No wonder Republicans don’t believe in big government, they are making so much money outsourcing or privatizing it out, it’s better than taking bribes outright.
I don’t remember voting for them.
No, but they own the people you voted for.
July 21 at 7:06pm
I posted this earlier from a Bloomberg post. Interesting turn of events that Mayor Mike just gave the Sierra Club $50 mil to use against coal/power plant interests.
Is there the sound of crumbling foundations I’m hearing with the outings of ALEC and Newscorp?
July 21 at 7:22pm
Toss in the Federalist Society and the fallout from Citizens United, and you begin to see the true outlines of our predicament.
This is the kind of things that goes on behind the publics back.
big money yet again gets to decide how our crap taxes are going to line their pockets.
the TRAITORS are in league with the BIGGER MORE POWERFUL TRAITORS.
fear and advertising. go off the grid make them work for it.
whistleblowers we NEED. peace
How many smoking guns are needed here? Make sure your friends hear about this and that the informtion stays out in the public eye. This story should not be burried after two days. This truth needs to be told and re-surfaced just often as the evil republicans keep repeating their lies. Evil republicans understand that a lie repeated is much more powerful than a truth that is lost to memory.
We in the USA have to stop and ask ourselves why is big money behind these bills. Is it that they are looking out for our welfare or just there money line for their company?
How freaking wonderful, who cares if all the poor people die, huh?
July 22 at 6:35pm
Let’s get literate! UnqHere’s the way I think it needs to go, with thanks to Winston Churchill:
“We shall go on to the end,…
we shall fight on the seas and oceans,
we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend…, whatever the cost may be,
we shall fight on the beaches,
we shall fight on the landing grounds,
we shall fight in the fields and in the streets,
we shall fight in the hills;.
we shall never surrender,… until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.”.
Not surprising, just disgusting.
yes is clear, is corruption
This kind of behavior is not competition, not gamesmanship, it is not ethical; not even politics. These actions are sabotage to our future, committed by sociopaths.
Koch is the REAL President of the United States.
Not news :-(
July 22 at 6:37am
So true. I thot of that also and yet I’m glad it’s getting reported now. Before it wasn’t even getting reported.
July 22 at 1:42pm
Refresh my memory…is it Koch – as in “sock” – or Koch- as in “soak”(er).
I intially read the title as “[...] write state legislation to repeal climate change”. It was more fun that way :(
You think maybe they might try this with Scotty in Wisconsin?
July 22 at 5:01am
What’s next are they going to reject the wheel?
July 22 at 5:09am
Who created that amazing illustration?
Even if we out Koch and do something about ALEC the people behind the scenes will just build up in another company or another group will form the same type of model. The problem is with the way they think. Greed cannot be on the forefront of battle. Survival must be. Do not ruin the environment because its the only one we have. Do not put the people out of work because of mistakes and corruption on the politicians shoulders. Remember when the little guy is starving or not making any money the government is not profiting. We cannot as a species survive without positive progress and change yet every time one or both is attempted money is thrown at it and were right back where we started.
It is quite obvious to me that ALEC and their cohorts are not basing their findings on science, but rather, on politics and their agenda. Koch Industries is the worst offender here. If things go their way, God forbid, humanity as we know it may cease to exist. We must stop them in their tracks, and arm people with facts based on scientific evidence.
corruption at it’s finest!
Corruption is right. This is terrifying stuff.
It’s only terrifying to those who cling to the quaint superstition that our government and our corporations are separate.
July 22 at 7:40pm
See what happens when you have big oil testify while not “under oath”.
Welcome to the Corporate States of America.
If we’re ever to see a government for the People, by the People… legislation and or constitutional amendments which prohibit rather than limit corporate influence over our policies must be the number one goal. It’s the foundation to corruption’s stronghold that has taken the better part of the people’s interests hostage and the ransom they ask in return for little to nothing is that we sacrifice a little of our selves each day for the sake of their profits. They ask us not to bother that little man behind the curtain, to suck it up count our losses and move along. They want us to believe that it’s un American to think any other way, to oppose them. It’s a lie… For the People, By the People is as American as it gets.
ALEC is something everyone should know about but no one does. READ THIS!
These greedy people can only be influenced with money, need incentives that are larger than the profit’s they’d make from ignoring the environment. Fail to realize that the incentive they would achieve from respecting the environment is greater than any financial incentive they could get on the books this quarter. I really can’t stand these people having any power whatsoever.
What a sleazy, corrupt crime against humanity…. and they seem to be able to get away with it! WAKE UP. Note the Kochs make a lot of money from the tarsands.
We haven’t had an actual democracy for a while. Can we just hold the funeral and get it over with?
“…for a reduction in carbon emissions that would have no appreciable impact on global concentrations of carbon dioxide.”.
Was I wrong to interpret that as saying “…because not enough is not worth doing”?
THIS IS SO FREAKING WRONG WHY ISN’T ANYBODY DOING ANYTHING ABOUT THIS? does NOBODY care that we’re killing our earth? seriously? what can we do, I want to know, how do we stop these sociopaths from destroying us all?
some say that there is no such thing as climate change or global warming…if that is so then why are these goons dumping money to change policy?