March 15, 2011- Today, Republicans in the House energy committee voted not once, not twice, but three times, against amendments recognizing that climate change is real, despite the broad scientific consensus that “climate change is happening and human beings are a major reason for it.” They then unanimously voted in favor of the Upton-Inhofe bill to repeal the EPA’s scientific endangerment finding on greenhouse pollution.
The 31 Republicans and three Democrats who voted in favor of H.R. 910 have received a grand total of $343,750 from Koch Industries, an average of more than $10,000 each. Freshman Mike Pompeo (R-KS), Koch’s special man in Congress, tips the scales at $79,500.
But today’s vote is not the first time the Commitee From Koch went public on their science denial. Here’s a survey of the members of the committee, fueled by support from Koch Industries and other polluters, and their proclaimed opposition to climate science and climate scientists:
House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (MI): “I do not say that it is manmade.” [ThinkProgress, 2/8/11]
Koch Contributions: $20,000
Think Progress: Tea Party Billionaire David Koch Hosted One Of Mitt Romney's First Fundraisers For 2012 Campaign
March 15, 2011- Last year, the New York Times revealed that petrochemical billionaire David Koch was among a small group of multibillionaires quietly promoting a presidential candidacy for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. Today, a report by investigative journalist Peter Stone states that Koch actually hosted Romney last summer for one of his first large fundraising parties:
Romney’s team boasts veteran bigwig bundlers such as Woody Johnson, who owns the New York Jets; Wayne Berman, who chairs the lobbying firm Ogilvy Government Relations; and David Koch of Koch Industries. This trio and other big bundlers have done yeoman’s work already. Last August, Koch and his wife hosted an evening soiree at their home in the Hamptons for Romney. Since the November elections, Romney has done about one conference call a month with a nationwide group of some 300 fundraisers to keep them in the loop.
The Koch brothers have historically played a key role in selecting GOP candidates. Last year, they guided a large contingent of climate change-denying candidates to victory using their Tea Party “Americans for Prosperity” and “No Climate Tax” front groups.
March 9, 2011- As Speaker of the House, John Boehner regularly hosts foreign leaders visiting Washington, presides over joint meetings of the House and Senate, and gives out Congressional commendations. So, as he prepared to take over the post last year, he enrolled an aide in a class at a private school outside Washington, D.C. to learn proper etiquette.
According to public records listing payments by Boehner's office, and first reported by the publication Roll Call, the then Republican Leader spent $5,800 last December in tuition for his aide to attend a five day course this spring given by the Protocol School of Washington.
Because Boehner's office registered early for the class, which will meet in May in McLean, Virginia, his office received $500 discount off the regular $6,300 tuition fee for the five- day course.
Michael Steel, spokesman for Speaker Boehner, defended the expenditure of taxpayer funds, saying, "Part of the ceremonial role of the Speaker is hosting foreign dignitaries. It's appropriate to do this properly."
March 8, 2011- Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) asked the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to investigate whether the American Action Network (AAN) has violated tax law. While AAN - chaired by former Republican Senator Norm Coleman - is organized as a tax-exempt organization under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code, it spent tens of millions of dollars persuading Americans to vote against Democratic congressional candidates in the 2010 elections.
Spurred on by the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, AAN and other outside groups spent nearly $300 million to elect the 112th Congress. As 501(c)(4) organizations, AAN and others are allowed to raise unlimited amounts of money without having to disclose their donors, but they cannot engage in political campaign activity as their primary purpose - a requirement AAN (and others) ignore. CREW highlighted some of the most egregious offenders on both sides of the political spectrum by naming its 2010 election all stars, which included Sen. Coleman.
March 9, 2011- American Crossroads GPS, an advocacy group that reported spending about $17 million on advertising before the midterm elections, generated controversy by using its nonprofit status to shield donors' identities.
As it turns out, the Internal Revenue Service hasn't even approved the group's nonprofit status. Crossroads filed an application in September but the agency has not acted on it.
That's not a problem as far as the law is concerned - the tax code allows an organization to operate as a nonprofit before it receives such status. Many groups do not file the paperwork until it is time to send in their first tax return.
The issue is more than a matter of paperwork, however. Watchdog groups say that Crossroads and other groups active in campaigns are taking advantage of lax IRS enforcement to offer political donors anonymity.
Crossroads GPS was founded with backing from Karl Rove, a political adviser to President George W. Bush, and concentrated its spending to produce attacks on vulnerable Democrats last year. But the group was formed as a "social welfare" organization under the tax code, allowing it to avoid revealing donor names.
March 7, 2011- The Crossroads GPS political committee, co-founded by Bush guru Karl Rove, is in my mailbox, on my TV screen and now on my radio at Whidbey Island. But it tells me nothing about who's putting up money to sway me.
Crossroads GPS will butt in a lot more next year: GPS and its partner American Crossroads have set out to raise $120 million to defeat President Obama, help Republicans capture the U.S. Senate and keep the House.
Karl has company. Charles and David Koch, billionaire heads of an oil-and-business conglomerate, plan to give and steer $88 million toward right-wing politicians and conservative causes in 2012. (Kudos to Ken Vogel of Politico for smoking out their plans.)
A Koch front is already advertising to bolster Wisconsin's increasingly unpopular Gov. Scott Walter in his bid to deprive public employee unions of collective bargaining rights (and defund a potent Democratic contributor).
Crossroads GPS is already on the air with radio ads, targeting 22 congressional districts. It's taking Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., to task for having the nerve, gall and presumption to oppose gutting such programs as Women, Infants and Children and the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
The Brad Blog: Indiana's New Republican Sec. of State Charged With Three Counts of Felony Voter Fraud
The GOP 'voter fraud epidemic' continues...
March 4, 2011- What do GOP superstar Ann Coulter, the head of the GOP's California voter registration firm Mark Anthony Jacoby, and, as of yesterday, Indiana's newly elected GOP Secretary of State Charlie White all have in common? Unlike the four-decade old community organization ACORN, each of the Republicans appear to have committed voter fraud and/or voter registration fraud.
Coulter's well-documented acts of voter fraud and voter registration fraud took place in 2005 in Palm Beach County, FL and were preceded by likely acts of voter fraud in Connecticut in 2002 and 2004 as well. Jacoby's voter registration fraud in CA led to his 2008 arrest and subsequent guilty plea. And now White, the new chief election official in IN, the state with one of the most draconian voter suppression polling-place Photo ID restriction laws in the nation, has been charged with three counts of voter fraud (as well as additional counts of perjury, financial institution fraud and theft), just two months after being sworn in last January, for having lied about his address when he voted in last year's GOP primary...
According to the Indianapolis Star...
February 14, 2011- Pennsylvania’s top senator says he’ll reimburse one of the state’s largest energy companies for his trip to this year’s Super Bowl.
In a statement posted on Twitter, Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati said Monday that he will fully reimburse Consol Energy Inc. for the trip.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Sunday that the company paid for his ticket, airfare and hotel, an arrangement which is legal under state law but which drew sharp criticism from good-government advocates.
Scarnati, a Jefferson County Republican, said in his tweet that he had planned to reimburse the expenses all along, but that he had not received the paperwork from the company.
PennLive: Gas driller pays Pennsylvania state Senator Joe Scarnati's way for trip, ticket to Super Bowl
February 13, 2011- An energy company drilling in Pennsylvania’s gas-rich Marcellus Shale paid for a top Republican state senator’s trip to see the Pittsburgh Steelers play in the Super Bowl in Texas, a newspaper reported Sunday.
Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson, had his ticket, plane ride and hotel bill paid for by Consol Energy Inc., one of Scarnati’s top aides told The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The free trip is permitted under Pennsylvania’s ethics rules, Drew Crompton, Scarnati’s legal counsel and chief of staff, told the newspaper. Scarnati might reimburse Consol for some of the costs, Crompton said.
Consol executives and lobbyists have contributed more than $15,000 to Scarnati’s campaigns since 2006, according to state records. The Inquirer reported that it’s not known whether Consol paid for any other legislators to attend the game in Arlington, Texas, a contest in which the Green Bay Packers beat the Steelers 31-25.
In a statement, Canonsburg-based Consol said it “had several guests join us at the Super Bowl” and noted that the expenses would be reported on its next lobbying disclosure report. The company did not identify the other guests.