Mary Boyle, Vice President of Common Cause, explains why a major big oil lobbying group is starting a new political action committee to donate to political candidates.
>> the oil industry is starting after pac to give money directly to candidates. they would usual liz send it to candidates for different things. they’re going to say well, i’m giving it to congressman fwob and congresswoman jane. congress is considering repealing the $46 billion the u.s. government gives out in oil subsidies. so i don’t think it’s a coincidence they’ve made this decision. now who is the american petroleum institute? well, api is the official lobby for the oil industry in washington and it spent $6.8 million on lobbying last year. but that’s the tip of the iceberg. our political system is drowning in money from oil and gas. the industry overall spent a grand teotal of o$349 million on lobbying and campaign contributions in 2009 and 2010. that’s more than $650,000 for each of the 535 members of congress. that’s like going over there and saying bh inin ining bob, would you like $635,000? he would say hell yes, i would. which way are they going to vote? they’re going to vote for the oil industry. that’s how it works. what’s interesting about this is how brazen it is. they used to hide which politician they’re giving the money to. it could hurt the politicians. now they don’t even care. they’re showing us their cards because they think there’s not a damn thing we can do about it. i’ve got two kings. what do you got? you don’t have anything better than that. it’s brazen. the capitol has become like a nascar rally where lawmakers are sponsored by oil companies. these are the three big oil companies that contributed the most to the 2010 midterm campaign. that’s koch. i heard that name before. exxon and chevron and we threw in halliburton just for fun. ? and what team do you think they’re playing for? well, they’re overwhelmingly paying for the team gop. midterm contributions went like this. koch, 93% to the gop. exxonmobil, 87%. chevron is down right bipartisan with only 82% to the gop and halliburton, dick cheney’s old company went 89% to the gop. and this is how our government gets bought. they think they’re so close to check mate they’re not even taking their normal precautions anymore. what they said basically today was gentlemen of the oil industry, start your engines. all right, joining me now is mary boyle, the vice president of common cause. they’re trying to fight this all the time. 234 not going too well, though. it does seem quite brazen doesn’t it? we’re telling you who we’re giving the money to and we don’t think you can effect i havely fight back.
>> they’re creating a new vehicle, yet another vehicle to contribute money directly to congress, to buy a congress that you point out is likely to do its bidding and fight pollution controls and environmental regulations.
>> so let’s talk about that for a second.
>> we talk in the context of koch 12industries, but it applies to the entire oil and gas industry. they want the subsidies but they want to make sure the air is polluted. not because they want it to be polluted but because they make more money. pollute the air, someone else’s kids get sick, well, who cares. i got paid.
>> corporations exist to be profitable. government exists to protect the public interest and to work for the public interest. when corporations get this, you know, stranglehold on government then whoa is advocating and looking out for the publg interepublic interest.
>> what on god’s green earth are we going to do about it? it looks pretty hopeless now.
>> we have to change the way we pay for political campaigns. we have to get special interests like oil and gas. there are about 14 other ones that are ahead of them in terms of giving more to politicians. we have to get them out of the business of paying for political campaigns and use public money, then you will have a congress that’s working for constituents, working for voters and not working for the people and the interests that paid for their campaigns.
>> i think a lot of them take the same money and do the same things, right?
>> but the republicans appear to be nearly a wholly owned subsidiary of these guys. how do you get beyond this problem when you have one party who will not budge in the terms that governor walker might use and say all right, look, when my donors daal me and they’re the oil guy, i will do their bidding and make sure i defeat you and basically our democracy.
>> yeah. you know, we are at a tipping point and the american public is just getting increasingly fed up with this. you probably know the supreme court decision last year allowed corporations to spend unlimited money to basically advocate per the electi — for the election or defeat of a candidate. you’re going to see more corporate money in the 2010 election. we think this is going to anger the public. finally it’s going to take a really bad situation to drive home the fact that if the public wants any representation in congress, then congress has got to do something. congress has got to feel the public pressure before they’re going to do something. that’s what we need to do, pressure congress to change.
>> rt wiall right, mary boyle of common cause. i want to say something to the audience before we go to break. guy, our democracy is on the line here. whether you’re a republican or a democrat, you can’t like these guys not working for you. in our democracy, they’re supposed to work for us, not work for the guys who are the highest bidders. we’ve got to find a way to change this. if we don’t, our democracy is r( t&h?hp &hc% companies or whether it’s the banks, and unfortunately, the one thing i think miegts ght be able to change it is when the banks crash. because they’re going to crash and they’re going to take more and more risks so they make more and more money in the short run. same thing with the oil gieps th — guys. pollution is a risk, but as long as i make money in the short run. eventually this thing crashes and that’s going to be a bad, bad moment. i want you to know who did it to you. it was these guys who only cared about the money. i hope to god we can get out ahead of it and stop it before it