United States

United States

Expensive anti-renewables propaganda fails to hurt wind cause

UNITED STATES: Money and misleading advertisements mostly failed to swing the November vote away from clean energy, analysis of cash spent by lobby groups shows.

Money is funneled into political campaigns by bodies known as political action committees (PACs). The American Wind Energy Association's PAC raised $272,870 in the 2012 election cycle, according to the Federal Election Commission's most recent figures, ending 17 October.

This is far less than the $325,600 raised by AWEA's PAC for the 2010 election, although the 2010 data includes the campaign's final three weeks. In contrast, fossil fuel giants Exxon Mobil and Mobil Oil's PACs together raised $1.83 million in 2012.

More than $1.6 million was spent in 2012 attacking specific pro-wind candidates. Former advisor to former president George W Bush and a key Republican strategist, Karl Rove, has a not-for-profit funding organisation known as Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies.

Up to mid-October, Crossroads spent an estimated $300 million on candidates. This included nearly $1 million on adverts in September attacking Maine independent Senate candidate Angus King for using his influence on a government task force investigating opportunities in offshore energy to help his own wind company, even though it dealt only in onshore projects.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee, the party group working to elect Republicans to the Senate, also spent more than $650,000 on adverts accusing King of using his connections to secure a $102 million government loan guarantee for one of his wind projects, a charge King denies. Despite the attacks, King won the vote.

$272,870 - Money raised by the American Wind Energy's political action committee in the 2012 election cycle.

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