Should The Toxic Koch Brothers Control A Maine Senate Seat? We Don't Think So
Routinely bribing Members of Congress, like Susan Collins (R-ME), to carry their toxic legislation to benefit their own business interests at the expense of Members' own constituents is not what they want to be known for.
In conjunction with its direct lobbying efforts, Koch Industries also exerts influence over lawmakers with campaign contributions to members of Congress and candidates who will support the company’s opposition to protective environmental and worker safety standards. Among the politicians that Koch funds is a bipartisan group of well-placed lawmakers with sway over chemical security legislation. These politicians generally sit on one of the three primary committees with jurisdiction over chemical security policy; these are the Energy and Commerce and Homeland Security Committees (in the House of Representatives) and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (in the Senate). Each of the key Senators and Representatives who have taken a lead role over the last year in pushing legislation that supports Koch’s agenda of blocking comprehensive chemical security legislation have received Koch campaign contributions. In 2010, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME)… introduced legislation that would extend the flawed temporary CFATS law and fail to require any disaster prevention at the highest risk chemical plants, while leaving thousands of hazardous oil refineries and water treatment plants exempted.Collins was rewarded with thousands of dollars directly from KochPAC for her efforts. She has been lavishly supported by other Koch-affiliated entities for his efforts on behalf of the business interests of the two most toxic predators on Planet Earth.
Yesterday a congressman who routinely attacks them by name in the media and on the floor of Congress told me they react against him with immense amounts of cash smearing him in his district, floating ugly innuendos about him and his family to local cash-starved media outlets. I don't always agree with Harry Reid, but his courageousness for provoking a fight with the Kochs on behalf of the American people makes him one of the political heroes of the decade. Yesterday, on Earth Day, the campaign of grassroots environmental candidate Shenna Bellows in Maine, who is running a feisty uphill battle against Koch-owned Susan Collins, went right after their interests as well:
Just over four years ago, the BP oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded, killing 11 people and leaving 210 million gallons of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico. The spill was catastrophic, causing unprecedented damage to the environment and wrecking havoc on the local marine life and ecosystem.As you know, Blue America has endorsed Shenna Bellows for the Maine Senate seat the Koch's currently control through Collins. (You can contribute to her grassroots campaign here.) This morning, as she was driving up to Orono to speak with students and faculty at the University of Maine, she was very clear on the dangers the Koch brothers pose to this country: "Make no mistake: the Koch brothers are determined to block the policies that would reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and stop global warming. They are funding a massive public relations campaign to deny science and protect their profits, all the while endangering the earth. But the Koch brothers can't buy the grassroots, and in the end, they will lose if good people stand together to protect our environment before it's too late."
Today is Earth Day, and having just commemorated the anniversary of the BP oil spill, I can’t imagine a better time to take a hard look at the failure of our elected officials to protect our environment and the economies that so depend on it.
My opponent, Republican Susan Collins, has stood with her fellow Republicans and voted against the environment time and time again. She’s voted against funding renewable energy, against tax incentives for clean energy, against protections for the Arctic, and against the elimination of tax loopholes and subsidies for big oil companies. She has even accepted campaign contributions for this race from Exxon Mobil.
Big Oil dominates our politics today, but it doesn't have to be this way. Instead of offering tax loopholes and subsidies to oil companies, we should be investing in conservation and renewable energy sources like tidal and solar.
Instead of drilling and spilling, we should be investing in good jobs in a new economy that both creates clean, green energy and protects our environment for generations to come. Today, I'm touring ReVision Energy, a socially responsible company that is helping people transition from fossil fuels to solar.
This weekend, I’ll be volunteering with local community members on a roadside clean-up near my home in Manchester with fellow members of the Manchester Conservation Commission. Being stewards of the land means we have a responsibility-- not just this Earth Day, but every day-- to preserve and protect our natural world. I hope you’ll take some time to pitch in and help out in your community, too.
They can't buy the grassroots. But they have bought Susan Collins and they are helping to fund her campaign against Shenna Bellows.Meanwhile, Susan Collins' endorsed candidate for governor and fellow Koch-addict, Tea Party loon Paul LePage, celebrated Earth Day by vetoing a bill that would have opened records on industrial hazardous waste and mercury emission control plans.