You get what you pay for. Which public lands should be open to coal mining? What should the scope of regulations be governing emissions from power plants? These are the types of questions that end up before the Senate's Energy & Natural Resources Committee.
Mining companies, electric utilities and oil and gas companies have a great interest in how the committee members vote and target their campaign contributions accordingly.
The following are the top recipients of oil, gas, and power company donations from 2007 to 2012: Joe Manchin, West Virginia, $1,108,489; John Barrasso, Wyoming, $926,947; Lisa Murkowski, Alaska, $880,922; Mary Landrieu, Louisiana, $752,374; Rob Portman, Ohio, $705,768.
During the 2010 election cycle, the oil and gas industry contributed more than $30 million to federal-level political interests. In 2011 the industry spent $150 million on federal lobbying. It also receives $10 billion annually in federal subsidies. (Source: Center for Responsive Politics and League of Conservation Voters).
So who governs this country?
-- Ray Cammisa