It’s a report on election campaign contributions and lobbying efforts by the oil & gas industries. In 2011 Exxon was the biggest contributor in that industry, followed closely by Koch Industries. Aside from direct contributions, the industry spent $148 million on lobbying efforts in 2011. So adding together the 2011 contributions and lobbying, the oil & gas industries spent $170 million in 2011 to influence government.
Just for fun, let’s take a look at some other contributors:
OpenSecrets categorizes this group as Finance/Insurance/Real Estate. It’s worth noting that the largest contributor in this category by itself contributed more than the top four contributors in the oil & gas industry—combined. That would be Goldman Sachs, at $3.4 million in contributions in 2011.
As a group, Finance/Insurance/Real Estate contributions in the 2011 election cycle totaled $212 million. That’s a lot of money, isn’t it?
No, not really.
Not compared to spending in 2008, when the industries spent—wait for it—over $500 million. That’s for campaign contributions alone.
Now what about lobbying? Remember, this is in addition to money the Finance/Insurance/Real Estate industries spent on campaign contributions.
To put it in perspective, in 1998 the Finance/Insurance/Real Estate industries spent $208 million on lobbying. But ten years later, in 2008, the figure more than doubled: $456 million. And it’s risen since then. The industries are steadily pumping over $460 million into lobbying efforts every single year since 2008.
What happened in 2008?
What an opportunity to rewrite the rules.
What an opportunity missed.
Is it possible that 2/3 of a billion dollars flowing into campaign contributions and lobbying every single year influenced the way Washington dealt with the financial crisis?
Look, I’m a capitalist. There’s not a better system for rewarding risk-taking and innovation, and for progressing quality of life for everyone.
But this is not capitalism. It’s buying influence.
If we want equal representation, we cannot have a government being run for the benefit of the contributors and lobbyists.
And that’s what we have now.
If you can explain why this much money flowing into election campaigns and lobbying efforts is good for our country, I’d like to hear from you.
Are you okay with this?