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Dirty Energy and Dirty Money are Poisoning American Politics

Original: Dirty Energy and Dirty Money are Poisoning American Politics

We have a problem in Washington. Polluting industries with massive lobbying arms fund the political campaigns of pretty much every Senator whose state is rich in coal. President Obama even had the audacity to list clean coal under "green jobs" despite the fact that coal is still the dirtiest source of energy on the planet. Interest groups have already spent over $200 million since President Obama’s inauguration in order to manipulate American energy policy reform.

Not surprisingly, the DSCC insists on taking money from PACs and lobbyists, even though President Obama refuses to do so. In fact, in order for President Obama to headline a fundraiser for them on June 18th they are denying the dirty industry money for one day only. They must think we are fools. The American people can see through the shell game the DSCC is playing. One day of doing the right thing does little to make up for 364 days of being beholden to specials interests and their dirty money. That is why I’ve joined dozens of other activists and bloggers in an effort led by Change Congress called Stop Fake Reform. In an open letter published earlier this week, we’re asking the DSCC to do the right thing:

We call on you to ban PAC and lobbyist contributions 365 days a year, just as President Obama did.

This is actually the least you could do to take on special-interest influence.

Will the DSCC and DCCC reject donations from executives of bailout recipients such as AIG, the way you did for Enron? Will you require candidates you support to publicly endorse the real solution to special-interest influence: public funding of congressional elections?

The public is tired of political gamesmanship. Please recognize that your "one day of reform" is absurd on its face and, if left standing, an embarrassment to your organizations. We urge you to announce a 365-day ban of PAC and lobbyist contributions – at a minimum.

Once we have reached 5,000 signatures Change Congress will be delivering the open letter to the DSCC and the DCCC to let them know how we feel. You can make your voice heard by adding your signature to the open letter today.

Unfortunately, the problem goes far beyond Washington, DC.

We also have a problem at state capitals like Richmond, VA and Columbus, OH. Dominion Virginian Energy spends millions of dollars financing coal-friendly campaigns in Richmond. In exchange, they expect a lax regulatory framework in which they can poison the air and water without taking responsibility for it. Sadly, many candidates running for office in Virginia, like Terry McAuliffe, talk a good talk but don’t walk the walk. That is why we have to support candidates with the courage of their convictions like Miles Grant.

Miles Grant understands the need to pursue policies to end our dependence on dirty and polluting coal. He also understands the corrosive impact campaign contributions from polluting industries can have on the ability of legislators to make that happen. That is why he signed a pledge on Wednesday promising not to accept any campaign contributions from Dominion Energy:

April 29, 2009

As Virginia confronts the threat of climate change and our dependence on dirty, polluting energy sources, we need leaders who will think big and fight the special interests that block progress towards a clean energy future.

Dominion Virginian Power was the top business donor to Virginia politicians in 2008, contributing nearly twice as much as the runner-up, the tobacco company Altria. Their influence has gone unchallenged for years, allowing them to serve as the dominant force in policy decisions – consistently weighting the scales against clean energy and a cleaner Virginia. The stakes are too high to let that continue.

Therefore I, Miles Grant, Democratic candidate for House of Delegates in Virginia’s 47th district, pledge that I will not accept contributions or gifts from Dominion Resources, its subsidiaries or its employees, either as a candidate or as an elected official. If I ever mistakenly accept such a contribution, I pledge to give it to a clean energy or environmental nonprofit as soon as the error is discovered. I take this pledge not as a statement about Dominion’s right to exist or its employees, but as a promise to consider only the public interest as we move Virginia’s energy policies forward.

Miles Grant
Democrat for Delegate
Virginia’s 47th District in Arlington

Miles deserves your support. Here are a few things you can do to help:

  • Contribute to the campaign. Since he isn’t accepting any dirty coal money he needs help from as many grassroots supporters like you and I as possible. Please give what you can.
  • If you live near Northern Virginia you can volunteer with the campaign. Miles knocks on doors in his district six days a week and has a phone banking session every Thursday evening. Please consider joining him.
  • Join the campaign’s Facebook Group and invite your friends to join. This is especially important for friends in Arlington, VA but all are welcome.
  • Are you on Twitter? Click here to send a Tweet for Miles and let your followers know about the pledge to deny contributions from Dominion. You can also follow Miles on Twitter.

Whether you choose to participate at the local or national level the important thing is that you decide to get involved. Polluting industries lobby aggressively for bad policy 365 days a year. We need committed citizens and activists like yourself to reclaim American government at all levels and insist on legislation that will transition us to the clean energy economy of the 21st century. Please join us in this effort however you can.

Josh Nelson is the editor of

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Josh Nelson

Josh Nelson

Josh Nelson is a blogger, activist, and avid news junkie. He is currently the Manager of New Media at a Washington, DC area PR/Communications firm. In his spare time he enjoys arguing on the Internet, spending time with good people and talking politics. He can be reached at

Josh blogs about sustainability and politics at EnviroKnow.

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