Leading up to the vote on the climate bill, 1,150 business and interest groups lobbied Congress on climate issues, spending an estimated $27 million or more, according to a report from watchdog group, the centre For Public Integrity.
Of that, 460 of the lobbying groups were formed in the second quarter of this year, just to focus on shaping the bill.
Everyone got in on the lobbying action from universities to farm hands to religious groups.
Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist organisation of America, as well as the National Advocacy centre of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd lobbied on the bill for a year. This prompted Americans United for Separation of Church and State to jump into the fray in the second quarter to make sure that religious groups didn’t get subsidies to make their places of worship eco-friendly.
Around 30 universities and colleges jumped in, hoping to siphon off a few bucks for researching clean technology.
The argriculture lobby–in particular, the ethanol lobby–threw its weight around, with 19 companies entering the lobbying fray for the first time in their history during the second quarter. Of these, the centre for Public Integrity singles out POET who is the largest producer of ethanol.
It formed a new group called Growth Energy with other ethanol producers. Wesley Clark was the public face, but behind the scenes is a well connected group that includes CEO Tom Buis, “a long-time fixture in the farm lobby”, and Jim Nussle, an ex-Congressman from Iowa also joined as special advisor.
Growth Energy also hired Kountoupes Consulting for $30,000 run by Lisa Kountoupes, who is described as a “former Clinton administration congressional…a staffer to Energy and Commerce chairman emeritus John Dingell.” Also, Melissa Shannon, a former legislative aide to Nancy Pelosi works for Kountopes.
In addition to the aforementioned groups, coal, coal utilities and natural gas groups all lobbied aggressively as well.
Despite the frenzy of lobbying, and despite the fact that the bill ballooned from 648 pages to 1,428 pages, a senior Congressional staffer told the centre for Public Integrity that the integrity of the bill held up. Their logic: The goal was to reduce emissions 17% by 2020, and the bill does that.
Guess it’s a matter of defining integrity.
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