A Friend of Coal, Raking It In
As we’ve pointed out, passage of the House climate change proposal last month wouldn’t have happened without the liberal sponsors first bowing to the demands of some of their more conservative Democratic colleagues, who were protecting the same polluting industries the bill aims to rein in.
Among the most vocal opponents of the initial draft was Rep. Rick Boucher, a Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee who represents the entirety of coal-rich Southwestern Virginia. Boucher hinged his vote for the environmental bill on the addition of tens of billions of dollars in pollution-permit giveaways to the coal industry and the utility companies that rely on it — concessions that worked their way into the final bill.
Today, we learn anew how the laws of reciprocity work in Washington.
In the months surrounding the climate change negotiations, the political committees for the largest energy and manufacturing interests — including the mining, gas and electric industries — showered Boucher with more than $51,000 in campaign cash, according to second-quarter disclosure forms posted today by the Federal Election Commission.
Donors included local Virginia interests, like Richmond-based energy giant Dominion ($2,500), but also a long list of out-of-state companies who have no interest in being held financially liable for the emissions they spew. Among them are Tennessee-based Eastman Chemical ($2,500), California’s Occidental Petroleum Corporation ($2,500) and New Jersey-based NRG Energy ($1,000). The list goes on — and this doesn’t include the executives and other employees of these companies who donated to Boucher on their own. (More on that later).
For the year, Boucher’s take from energy interests is roughly $110,000, the FEC forms reveal. Not bad for a guy who won his last reelection bid with 97 percent of the vote.