Big Oil’s Big Year

Photo by Steve Wampler, via <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/sgw/2892058635/">Flickr</a>.

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In case you were feeling sorry for Big Oil now that the Obama administration has proposed cutting their tax breaks, the 2009 lobbying figures for the industry are available. And the industry spent big: $154 million on lobbying last year alone. That’s more than any previous year, and more than any other energy interest looking to shape the debate on Capitol Hill.

Lobbying disclosures analyzed by the Center for Responsive Politics found that oil interests spent 16 percent more on lobbying in 2009 than in 2008. ExxonMobil alone spent $27.4 million on lobbying, the second biggest business spender in 2009, while Chevron spent $20.8 million, ranking seventh. Electric utilities followed close behind, spending $134.7 million last year.

By comparison, energy interests categorized as “miscellaneous” spent just $29 million on lobbying. This category includes groups like the American Wind Energy Association, local water districts, ethanol companies, smart grid promoters, and various others. Environmental organizations spent approximately $21.3 million last year on lobbying—which, if you’re counting, is just 7 percent of what fossil fuel interests spent.

And this isn’t all of it; CRP has only tallied 80 percent of the lobbying disclosure forms, and a more detailed report is expected later this month. It’s important to note that not all energy companies are lobbying against climate change legislation. A number of electric utilities have been supportive of measure to cap and reduce carbon dioxide pollution. But the lobbying totals show just how much these industries are spending to influence what that legislation might look like.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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