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Interactive: Big Polluters’ Big Ad Spending

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Big polluters and their special interest allies spent nearly $73 million since the beginning of 2010 on misleading and fictitious television ads designed to shape midterm elections and advance their anti-clean energy reform agenda. Outside spending by conservative groups reached $189 million this year. The stakes for our clean energy future are high as pro-oil and coal groups spend more and more and half of the Republican caucus in the U.S. Congress doubt that global warming is a threat.

Click on the arrows to scroll through the different groups and find out more about where they are spending on television ads to prevent progress on clean energy and climate legislation. See a state-by-state breakdown here (pdf).

Energy Advertising Spending

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  • American Action Network
  • American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity
  • American Crossroads GPS
  • American Future Fund
  • Americans for Job Security
  • Americans for Prosperity
  • American Petroleum Institute
  • Club for Growth Action
  • Committee for Truth in Politics
  • National Association of Manufacturers
  • National Taxpayers Union
  • US Chamber of Commerce
  • Yes on 23
  • Total Spending
  2010 Aug-Nov
American Action Network $848,040 $695,020
American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity $16,416,590 $3,075,560
American Crossroads GPS $697,810 $697,810
American Future Fund $837,740 $739,710
American Petroleum Institute $39,231,480 $1,939,200
Americans for Job Security $590,240 $590,240
Americans for Prosperity $1,147,020 $1,131,470
Club for Growth Action $1,849,120 $1,801,080
Committee for Truth in Politics $698,310 $698,310
National Association of Manufacturers $1,177,460 $1,177,460
National Taxpayer’s Union $2,088,810 $2,088,810
US Chamber of Commerce $4,549,620 $4,258,160
Yes on 23 $2,866,570 $2,866,570
TOTAL $72,998,810 $21,794,740
 
State Target Amount
 

Interest group spending surged and grew more secret this year following the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling in January that allowed these groups and corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on elections. Conservative groups make up the bulk of a fivefold increase in spending since the elections in 2006 that seeks to influence the upcoming midterm elections. Many of the groups doling out this cash are set up like nonprofits-such as Americans for Job Security-and do not have to disclose their financial donors.

The graphic above illustrates more than $21.8 million in spending on television ads by special interest groups around the country starting in August 2010.

The graphic is only a glimpse, however, of Big Oil and Big Coal’s political capital. The Center for American Progress Action Fund documents in our “Dirty Money” report that the 20 biggest-spending oil, mining, and electric utility companies spent $242 million on lobbying from January 2009 to June 2010. Trade associations generally opposed to clean energy policies spent another $290 million. Lobbying and advertising are just two tools in Big Oil and Big Coal’s arsenal to defeat clean energy and oil-reform legislation they believe will compromise their profits.

Detailed spending by state (pdf)

Rebecca Lefton is a Researcher and Noreen Nielsen is the Energy Communications Director for Progressive Media at American Progress.

See also:

  • Dirty Money by Daniel J. Weiss, Rebecca Lefton, and Susan Lyon



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