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NWF spills beans on oil's role in politics

Sept. 21, 2012 at 8:34 AM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- A report outlined by the National Wildlife Foundation said energy companies are tryin to influence U.S. political affairs.

Larry Schweiger, president and chief executive officer at the NWF, writes in the introduction to the 20-page report that it takes readers "behind the curtains" to show how energy companies are influencing U.S. politics to undermine steps toward a low-carbon economy.

The report states that oil companies, some of the biggest corporations in terms of revenue, use part of their capital to get sympathetic votes on Capitol Hill.

"Since 1999, oil, gas, and coal companies have contributed nearly $1 billion to members of Congress," the report states.

During the current session of Congress, the report adds, roughly $23 million in campaign contributions to U.S. lawmakers came from companies involved in the energy sector.

The NWF took aim at the 2010 case, Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, that said campaign contributions were protected under the First Amendment.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, ranked at the top of the NWF's list of fossil fuel beneficiaries with $814,000 during the current Congress. U.S. Sen. John Manchin, D-W.Va., leader of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, ranked second with $480,050.

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