August 12, 2015 6:00 pm -

[su_center_b]oil-biz-whoresThe good folks at The Guardian follow the money:

Republican presidential candidates have banked millions of dollars in donations from a small number of mega-rich individuals and corporations with close ties to the fossil fuel industries that stand to lose the most from the fight against climate change.

Eight out of the 17 GOP figures currently jostling for their party’s presidential nomination have between them attracted a bonanza of at lea million so far this year from sources either directly involved in polluting industries or with close financial ties to them. Three Republican contenders stand out as recipients of this fossil fuel largesse: the Republican climate change denier-in-chief, Ted Cruz; the party establishment favorite Jeb Bush; and the former governor of Texas, Rick Perry.

The funds have come from just 17 billionaires or businesses that have pumped enormous sums – in one case $15m for a single candidate – into the support groups or Super Pacs that work alongside the official campaigns yet are free to attract unlimited contributions. The $62m forms a substantial chunk of almost $400m that has been given to presidential contenders from both main parties in 2015, raising questions about the leverage that fossil fuel interests might seek to exert over the next occupant of the White House at a critical time for the battle against climate change.

… [B]y far the greatest beneficiary of what might be labelled fossil fuel donations has been Ted Cruz. The sitting US senator from Texas, who is among the most prominent and blatant climate change deniers in the US, has been showered with a staggering $36.5m from just four wealthy sources with links to fossil fuels interests.

Those donors include members of the Wilks family from Texas who have collectively given $15m to Cruz-supporting Super Pacs. The Wilks fortune was amassed primarily from making equipment used in fracking, a controversial technique for extracting natural gas, via a company called Frac Tech, which the family sold in 2011.

Robert Mercer, a hedge-fund manager based in Long Island, has given a whopping $11m to Cruz Super Pacs. Mercer’s fund, Renaissance Technologies, has major financial interests in big oil companies such as ExxonMobil, Chevron, Callon Petroleum and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp.

Another huge wad of cash has been pushed in Cruz’s direction by Toby Neugebauer, a private equity financier. He holds partnerships in several fossil fuel concerns including Quantum Energy Partners, an active investor in the Barnett Shale onshore natural gas field in Texas.

Cruz has made several outspoken comments disputing the overwhelming scientific consensus that man-made climate change is a serious and growing threat. In February 2014, he told CNN that data did not exist to support the “so-called scientific theory” of global warming.

In March he told the Texas Tribune that “satellite data demonstrate that there has been no significant warming whatsoever for 17 years”. Last week, at a forum organized by the energy tycoons the Koch brothers in California, Cruz made a statement described by some as “full out denial” in which he repeated his claim that “the data and facts don’t support” the phenomenon of climate change.

The Guardian invited the Cruz presidential campaign to comment on the large sums of money flowing into his coffers from fossil fuel interests, but there was no immediate response.

Gee. I wonder why.


D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.