The Political-Environmental Complex

The Political-Environmental Complex October 18, 2011

Not quite as catchy as the military-industrial complex, but no less real:

Some of the biggest immediate beneficiaries of the green revolution, ironically, may have been politicians themselves. Executives of the top 50 recipients of the government’s green-energy aid have donated more than $2 million to federal campaigns since Obama took office. Some of the biggest recipients of green stimulus money—including NRG Energy and Consolidated Edison—made six-figure donations to candidates and interest groups. The industry as a whole has ponied up more than $5 million from its executives and political action committees, a notable increase from a formerly quiet sector. Democrats have been the main beneficiaries of clean-energy money. But Republicans have tapped their allies in the fossil-fuel industries—Exxon Mobil and Koch Industries have been the biggest donors, and overwhelmingly to Republicans—for more than $20 million in donations since Obama took office.

The clean-energy agenda quickly took on the trappings of the money-for-access game endemic to Washington. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, a chief backer of Obama’s agenda, hosted a roundtable in Washington in June 2009 with a dozen major clean-energy executives eager to build projects in his home state of Nevada. Within a year, at least eight executives from those companies donated to Reid’s reelection campaign. Reid’s office declined to comment.

Read the rest.  You know things are getting tough for Obama and the Democrats when even Eleanor Clift writes an unflattering article about them.

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  • Zach

    What a joke. You’re comparing the clean companies to the big oil machine? Last time I checked, we didn’t have to go to war for clean energy, didn’t have to clean up in the Gulf for it, and didn’t have to support dictators around the world for it. It’s clear that you don’t allow your (Christian?) faith to get in the way of your love of the status quo.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Wow, you know a lot about me on the basis of a quotation! That’s impressive! 🙂


  • Basil

    You seem to be posting a lot about politics these days

    • DougH

      It *is* a rather important election, even crucial.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Over time, I post in roughly equal measure about politics and religious issues. I realize some people enjoy the latter but not the former, or the former but not the latter. I’m working on a way in which people can subscribe only to those posts that fall into a certain category, but presently it’s all mixed together, for better or worse!


      • Basil


        It seems like arranging for separate subscriber category is LOT of trouble. I hope you are not considering because of me. I’m ok with the all-mixed-together approach.

        Here is a related question for you — are we, as a culture, self-segregating based on political affiliation? It kind of feels like it, although I don’t know of a way to prove it. What are the implications? I don’t know the answers.

  • Basil

    When have we ever had an “unimportant” election? By definition, it’s impossible. I would love it if there was an election that was billed as being “fun, but not crucial”!

    I hold two, somewhat conflicting, views — so I’ll just to throw it out there for consideration:

    On one hand, moral values (of which religious values are a subset) influence how we vote. It is inherent that our values influence our civic associations, including voting and party affiliation.

    On the other hand, I think we have overly politicized religious denominations, where politics of a particular flavor is the primary expression of faith (for example, the LDS Church and the financing of Prop 8 in California, and other smear-the-queer ballot initiatives around the U.S.) I actually don’t have a problem with that, except that over time, religious organizations cease to be religious, and become tax-exempt political action committees. Why should any organization be granted tax exemptions just because they claim some religious window dressing? It gives them an unfair financial / structural advantage in influencing elections and legislation.

    C-Street, in Washington DC was the most extreme example of this behavior, although I think they may have finally lost their tax exemption as a “church”, because of their rather notorious record as a badly behaved frat-house where philandering Congressmen could be bribed with rent subsidies, and their general lack of identifiable faith-based activities (unless, hosting hook-ups for married Congressmen is an act of faith — not that I am being judgmental or anything, because you know, I would sooner walk on my lips than be judgmental!).

    I actually see this as a problem at both ends of the political spectrum (left & right), but it may be muted on the left since people who lean towards the political left tend to be more secular/unaffiliated with any particular religious denomination.