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Campaigners unable yet to make Chevron
 pay for the damages it creates.
Chevron, the eighth largest oil company in the world, has contributed $2.5 million to the Congressional Leadership Fund, a Super PAC seeking the election of Republicans to the House of Representatives. That, says campaignmoney.org, is the single largest contribution to a so-called Super PAC since the Supreme Court's Citizen United decision in 2010 allowed these organizations to advocate for candidates with money raised from corporations, unions and individuals in unlimited amounts.

Paul Blumenthal reports that the Chevron contribution is part of a shift on the part of oil and gas companies that gave 62 percent of their political contributions to Republicans in 1990 and 90 percent so far this election cycle. Total 2012 contributions from the industry reported, according to the Center for Responsible Politics Open Secrets project: $49 million. As of June, Republicans had received $38 million of the industry's political contributions, four times as much as Democrats had received.

Adam Smith, communications director for the campaign finance watchdog Public Campaign, drew a link between Chevron's contribution and the Republican Party's voting record. He said, "$2.5 million to a party who has repeatedly voted to maintain their subsidies is a worthy investment for them."
Chevron is the third largest contributor to political campaigns among the Fortune 500.

Rebecca Leber points out that the Republican-dominated House has voted 109 times this session to keep the oil and gas industry rolling in dough, including 38 votes to prevent clean-energy deployments and 12 times to expedite approval of the Keystone XL pipeline that will transport highly polluting tar sands oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast.

Despite its forays into geothermal and solar projects, Chevron has an appalling environmental record, especially in the Amazon, Western Australia and the Niger Delta of Africa.

It faces a $19 billion liability in lawsuit brought by advocates of indigenous peoples in Ecuador over the impact of billions of gallons of toxins associated with oil production that the corporation dumped there. It is claimed the toxins have produced more cancer in the area than would have otherwise occurred. As a consequence of the lawsuit, Chevron has been backing the Senate candidacy of Connie Mack, a Florida Republican challenging incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, via its contributions to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

According to the advocacy website, the Chevron Pit, Mack from his House seat has sought to nullify trade preferences with Ecuador unless the lawsuit against Chevron is dismissed. If that were to happen, it would cost hundreds of thousands of Ecuadoreans their jobs.

A television ad for Nelson was run the second week of October. It is called "Hedge Fund Honcho":

Nelson: I'm Bill Nelson and I approved this message.

Announcer: Out-of-state billionaires and special interests have spent over $20 million to buy Connie Mack IV a Senate seat.

Is it any wonder? In Congress, Mack is protecting Chevron Oil from a multi-billion dollar lawsuit over pollution of rivers and rain forests. And Mack filed a bill worth $2 billion for a Wall Street hedge fund speculator who happens to be one of Mack's biggest donors.
Connie Mack. Deep in debt to the special interests.

A Chevron lobbyist told Newsweek in 2008: "We can't let little countries screw around with big companies like this—companies that have made big investments around the world." Company officials may not be so bold as to say so, but that is exactly how they view things in their home base. As always, they are willing to spend a few millions to keep raking in their billions.

•••

No matter where you live, sign up to help get Democratic voters to the polls in swing states with our partners at Workers’ Voice, a new political action committee from our friends in the labor movement.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 10:43 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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