Oakland, Calif. – A new online tool reveals congressional and senate candidates have received $29.6 million in contributions from fossil fuel organizations. Launched by ClimateTruth.org Action, the resource is the first to include both incumbent and challenger contributions exclusively from the fossil fuel sector.
The website, NoFossilFuelMoney.org, compiles up-to-date campaign finance data based on contributions from oil and gas, electric utilities, coal mining and related sectors. The tool aims to shine a light on how fossil fuels influence our democratic process.
“Fossil fuel companies are buying our elections and selling out the planet,” said Brant Olson, director of ClimateTruth.org Action. “This data shows fossil fuel companies are investing heavily in the status quo. They are betting big on incumbents to maintain a Congress that’s friendly to dirty energy, and in the process, robbing the American people of clean energy jobs and a safe climate future.”
Congress has never passed major legislation to cut global warming emissions. ClimateTruth.org Action points to the corrupting influence dirty energy money has had on our political process as one reason. Meanwhile, Americans are already experiencing the impacts of the changing climate, from extreme storms like Hurricane Matthew to devastating droughts and wildfires, which are taking a toll on the economy. In the last decade, the U.S. spent $586 billion on natural disasters, a number surely exacerbated by climate inaction.
“It’s clear what these companies expect in exchange for their contributions,” said Brandy Doyle, campaign manager at ClimateTruth.org Action. “Fossil fuel companies receive billions in subsidies and benefit from laws that are friendly to polluters instead of the public.”
The website is fully interactive, allowing the user to see how much money fossil fuel companies are giving to their senate and congressional candidates. Information on the data and methodology used can be found at NoFossilFuelMoney.org/about.
“The majority of Americans agree it’s time to take action on climate,” said Olson. “Yet Congress fails to act. It’s time to buck this trend, and the first step is for voters to know who is buying their politicians.”
Highlights from the data include:
Fossil fuel companies have contributed $29.6 million to Congressional candidates in the 2016 election cycle, $29.1 million of which went to incumbents.
Every incumbent senator running for reelection is a recipient of fossil fuel money, reflecting how the fossil fuels industry is investing in the status quo.
Fossil fuel companies have contributed $1.1 million to candidates who serve on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology in the 2016 campaign cycle. Of this, $913,000 went to the 22 Republicans on the committee and $243,000 went to the 16 Democrats. The science committee is currently working to thwart investigations by states’ attorneys general and the Security Exchange Commission into Exxon Mobil for climate fraud.
Among highly-watched toss-up races, the candidates who have received the most money from fossil fuels companies include: SENATE: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.): $695,000 / Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.): $489,000 / Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.): $381,000. HOUSE: Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas): $294,000 /Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.): $139,000 / Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.): $82,000
The top recipient of fossil fuel money running for the Senate is Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), with $1,103,551.
- The top recipient of fossil fuel money running for the House is Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), with $1,016,260.