Wind Lobby Targets Republicans

According to Politico, the American Wind Energy Association (famous for trying to extend wind energy tax credits despite the fact that wind accounts for just 2.3% of America’s electricity but requires 40% of the wholesale price to be subsidized in order to “compete” in the free market) has ramped up their campaign donations…to Republicans.

We decided to take a look.  Our own analysis, based on information from OpenSecrets.org, found the following:

The American Wind Energy Association’s PAC has donated a total of $121,579 to federal lawmakers in 2012. Of that money, 42% ($51,227) has gone to Republicans. The chart shows that the wind industry is shifting their campaign donations as the expiration of their tax credits draws near.

Election Cycle Democrat Republican
2012 (partial) $70,352 (58%) $51,227 (42%)
2010 $215,942 (70%) $94,000 (30%)
2008 $101,315 (75%) $33,929 (25%)
2006 $19,500 (52%) $18,100 (48%)
2004 $18,600 (57%) $14,000 (43%)

In the House, Dave Reichert (R-WA) received the most ($7,500), but other influential members of the Republican Party have received large contributions as well. In the Senate, Maria Cantwell (D-WA) received the most ($7,500).

The point is this: we are approaching what may very well be the most crucial lame-duck session in a generation. In addition to the fiscal cliff, Congress will decide whether or not to extend subsidies for wind energy. Naturally, the wind industry is well aware of this, which could account for the amount of money being given, especially to Republicans who are supposed to be against wasteful subsidies.

We may have a problem.

Congress needs to eliminate wasteful subsidies, loopholes, deductions and credits that favor certain industries over others. They should not be extending them, and certainly not for industries which have been receiving these handouts for 20 years yet have shown negligible improvement.

Instead of extending these tax credits, Congress should eliminate all industry-specific subsidies (even those for oil and gas), which is precisely what Representative Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and Senator Jim DeMint’s (R-SC) Energy Freedom and Economic Prosperity Act (H.R.3308/S.2064) would do.

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