The names may change in Congress. Democrats may replace Republicans in the majority. But when it comes to energy legislation, the same rule always applies: Money talks.
So is it any surprise that agribusiness, a sector that gave $44.6 million to Democratic and Republican candidates in the last election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, came out the big winner in the energy bill passed by the Senate on June 21? The oil-and-gas industry, which gave $19.1 million as part of a natural-resources sector that gave $46.4 million, didn’t do too badly, either.
Automakers, who gave $14.2 million of the $39.9 million contributed by the transportation sector, wound up with the short end of the stick in the Senate bill but look poised to recover in the legislation now moving through committee in the House. The auto industry is likely to benefit from the second rule of political giving: It’s not how many politicians you buy but which ones. The first rule, by the way, is give early and often.
- Ethanol: huge winner
- Oil and natural gas: big winner
- Coal-to-liquid fuels: big loser
- Alternative and renewable energy: big loser
- Energy-efficient technologies: a reasonable victory