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This weekend the Cleveland Plain Dealer posted a very revealing article that shows just how deeply fracking industry money has corrupted Ohio’s political system. Here are some amazing facts from the article:
While the added lobbying muscle of Ohio’s oil and gas industry is still emerging, campaign finance reports show five of the major oil and gas industry PACs poured nearly $600,000 into politician coffers since 2010, including nearly $100,000 since last March to state lawmakers from Chesapeake Energy.
Since March 2011, Chesapeake’s PAC or members of its Statehouse lobbying team have donated nearly $100,000 to 19 House members and 14 Senate members, a group that includes 30 Republicans and three Democrats. Most of the contributions to lawmakers have come in the last six months, with Chesapeake giving a total of $84,350 since October.
The industry is surprisingly frank about why they’re spending so big: to put their friends back in office, and to get exclusive access to lawmakers. Another quote:
Companies new to Ohio merely “want to get known,” and giving campaign contributions helps them get face time at fundraisers with lawmakers, Batchelder said.
“We have a number of people who are knowledgeable about the oil industry, people who want to see that industry grow and create jobs and so forth, and sometimes they are very articulate about that,” Batchelder said. “The oil interests want to encourage them and want them to be in the legislature.”