Contribute Now to Defeat Exxon PAC's incumbents

by Christopher Walker

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When Exxon/Mobil released its financial figures for the 4th quarter of 2005, it made a lot of people mad. We consumers watch gas prices at the pump go up and up, & worry about keeping our houses heated. Meanwhile lobbyists from the fossil fuel industry tell Senate committees that America will pop open like a blood-filled tick if we don't let them loot Alaska right *now*.

Then we got the figures for 2005, and find that just *one* of these companies, Exxon, made a profit - no, not revenues, a *profit* - of $10.7 billion in the 4th quarter of 2005. A profit of over $36 billion for the year. Then in April they pensioned off their former CEO with a retirement package worth more than *$400* *million*. Latest: Exxon Mobil Corp. confessed it earned $10.36 billion in April-June 2006, the 2nd largest quarterly profit ever recorded by a publicly traded U.S. company. But this isn't gouging. Oh, no. 'A rising tide lifts all boats,' said an Oppenheimer analyst.

A rising tide doesn't lift your boat if you're tethered to the bottom by a working-class wage. And if you're making minimum wage, the water's been over your head for five or six years now, and getting deeper all the time.

All this while their industry's lobbyists and their paid lackey, Republican Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, were whining in Washington that "eco-extremists" and "tree-huggers" were blocking them from drilling in the Arctic.

Ok, I looked up the donations Exxon makes from their PAC. I wanted to see how many Senators and Members of Congress Exxon has in their pocket thanks to the profit they skim off your gas bill and mine.

I won't kid you. Not all their donations are to Republicans. Exxon likes incumbents, especially powerful incumbents. They've got some Democrats on their payroll. But their total donations to Republicans from 1998-2006 add up (so far, the 2006 cycle has barely started) to just shy of $2.5 million - over two and a half times as much as they've donated to incumbents in the party out of power.

We should probably press harder for campaign finance reform. But, in the mean time, I think we should give them some more Democrat incumbents to consider. Even things out a bit.

Below are some good Democrat candidates who are running against GOP incumbents who've been on the take from Exxon since the election cycle of 2000.

I couldn't list them all. There are too many. I had to be selective. Feel free to make your own list. In the mean time, please pick one of the Democrats below, and donate a few bucks -- if you have any left after paying your gas bill.



Image of John Laesch

John Laesch

IL-14

The incumbent in IL-14 is the Speaker, Dennis Hastert. $26,500 in Exxon money has helped float his campaigns, 2000-2006.

No surprise to find Hastert also on the take from *Halliburton's* PAC: $4,000 in the 2004 cycle.

One wonders a little why he bothers with these small sums, now that we've learned that he's made $3.8 million, so far, selling land that he bought (in his wife's name, to conceal the profiteering) near a federal highway project his district didn't even want. (And he hasn't even sold half the land, yet.)

Timid people say a Speaker of the House can't be defeated. How soon we've forgotten Speaker Foley, or Speaker Wright. The latter was brought down by a $55,000 book deal. Not much, compared to $3.8 million in corrupt real estate deals.

John Laesch is a fine, hard-working, progressive candidate, who honed his skills in a spirited primary and is ready to take on the beast.

Update: the possibility that Rep. Hastert failed to protect congressional pages from a known predator is not playing very well in his Illinois district.

Image of Larry Grant

Larry Grant

ID-01

Idaho hasn't always been a completely Red state. It was Idaho that elected anti-war crusader Frank Church to the Senate, in the Vietnam era. This year the Republicans may have made a mistake that will loosen their grip on the Idaho delegation. They had a bitter primary in ID-01, and the candidate that emerged is so divisive, and has so many enemies in his own party, that his fund-raising has had to be farmed out to the extremist Club for Growth.

We're running a good, populist Democrat against him and he has a real shot at bringing this district into the Democrats' new Western Strategy of electing pro-environment, sensible, honest Democrats to Congress from the mountain states, where the GOP's politics of social division don't play quite as well as they do elsewhere.

Had enough? Can you help?

Image of Larry Kissell

Larry Kissell

NC-08

People who've known me in non-political life might be flabbergasted that I would add a Baptist deacon to my ActBlue page, but Larry Kissell is the real deal - a working guy running against a corrupt tool of the Bush Administration. Robin Hayes is so spineless that he let Administration flunkies strongarm him into voting for CAFTA even though he knew it was bad for his district's endangered textile jobs and he had specifically promised he would not vote for it when campaigning.

I think he signed the death warrant for his tenure in Congress with that vote. NC-08 is registered 51% Democratic. Polling numbers show this race rapidly closing - it wasn't even on the map, when the cycle started.

It is almost comical, but also sad, to look up these worst jokers in Congress on the FEC filings from the Exxon/Mobil PAC and find out that they are invariably on the take there. Robin Hayes has taken* $24,000* from Exxon in the last 4 cycles - more than any other North Carolina incumbent.

Wouldn't you know? Had enough yet?

Image of David Harris

David Harris

TX-06

Conservative GOP Congressman Joe Barton's taken $18,500 from Exxon/Mobil in just the last three cycles. In 2004 and 2006, he took more from them than any other Texas politician.

Joe Barton was one of only 11 members of Congress to vote against funding for Katrina survivors.

David Harris is an Iraq veteran running against this corrupt leftover from the Tom DeLay crowd. David Harris believes in science. He believes in helping others. He believes in the democratizing effect of the Net. On Veteran's Day he devoted his website to promoting a program called Books for Soldiers.

This is a man who works and thinks, rather than looking to see where the next dirty dollar will come from as Joe Barton seems to.

Have a look at David's website to see what a real honest-to-god working Democrat looks like, and then help send him to Congress.

update.: as the current Session closed, incumbent Joe Barton had squashed a bill to help autistic kids. Nice.

Had enough ?

Image of Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson

NY-23

Doctor Bob wants to inject some common sense into Congress. He supports balanced bidgets, stem cell research, and an end to unilateral adventurism as a substitute for foreign policy. And he strongly opposes the use of torture against prisoners.

The Republican incumbent he want to dislodge, John McHugh, has a big warchest. He's over-confident because of his financial advantage and his sweetheart relationship with the newspapers in the district. He hasn't even bothered to ask Exxon/Mobil for more money, this year (they contributed to his 2004 campaign).

But this district's other media markets are unusually inexpensive, so relatively small campaign contributions can put this race on the map.

Everyone's chattering about the opportunity for a clean sweep of New York's Congressional delegation this cycle, and some of the other races are well-represented in blog debate. But we can't actually Sweep New York without Doctor Bob.

Actor Viggo Mortensen is making campaign appearances for Dr. Bob. He wants to help. Can you?

Image of Angie Paccione

Angie Paccione

CO-04

A splendid candidate, running against the most rabidly anti-gay extremist in Congress, Angie has puled within 4% of the powerful incumbent in the most recent poll.

Marilyn Musgrave has taken $5,000 so far this cycle from *Exxon/Mobil*. What does that money pay for, you ask? Well, on May 3, given the opportunity to vote for a popular bill to stop price gouging by oil companies, Musgrave was one of only 34 members of Congress who voted 'no.' An honest politician, they say, is a politician who stays bought.

Marilyn did find time, though, to vote herself a pay raise this year.

Had enough?

Musgrave was weakened this time by a contested GOP primary. Colorado is trending bluer. This is a winnable district *even* *if* 2006 doesn't turn out to be a landslide year for the Democratic Party.

Update, Sept.: Paccione has raised a million dollars! The biggest warchest Marilyn has ever faced.

Image of Scott Kleeb

Scott Kleeb

NE-03

He's cute as a button;he's a ranch hand with a Ph.D.; he speaks Italian; he might win in a district that has never elected a Democrat before.

And Exxon/Mobil's given $4,000 to his Club-for-Growth-backed opponent.

Image of Peter Goldmark

Peter Goldmark

WA-05

He's a perfect match for his district. He will hold this district forever, if we can get him elected.

The incumbent went to bible college and takes money from Exxon. She votes constantly for the Bush agenda.

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