After being voted out of office in 2006, George Allen went to do Big Oil’s bidding. Now he wants to do their bidding back in the U.S. Senate. We’ve seen this movie before and know how it ends: as Senator, George Allen can only be counted on to champion special interests, not the public interest.
That's why the League of Conservation Voters has named George Allen to our "Dirty Dozen" list.*
Allen voted for 2005 Bush energy bill that contained $6 billion in tax breaks for oil and gas companies. In June of 2005, Allen voted for the Energy Policy Act of 2005, a bill that included $6 billion in subsidies for the oil and gas industry, according to Public Citizen. These subsidies included a provision that “Allows ‘geological and geophysical’ costs associated with oil exploration to be written off faster than present law, costing taxpayers over $1.266 billion from 2007-2015,” and another that “Allows owners of oil refineries to expense 50% of the costs of equipment used to increase the refinery’s capacity by at least 5%, costing taxpayers $842 million from 2006-11.” [HR 6, Senate Vote 158, 6/28/05; Public Citizen]
Allen voted for 2003 Bush energy bill that included $13 Billion in tax breaks for energy companies. Allen voted for a motion to invoke cloture on the conference report on the bill that would implement a comprehensive national policy for energy conservation, research and development. The Associated Press reported that the bill included “Tax breaks of $13 billion for oil, gas and coal industries.” [HR 6, Senate Vote 456, 11/21/03; Associated Press, 11/21/03]
2003 Bush energy bill offered “smorgasbord of benefits” for energy companies. A November 21, 2003 Reuters article reported: “The energy bill includes $23.5 billion in tax breaks, with a total cost of about $31 billion over 10 years due to new funding, grants and production incentives. … Republican supporters of the legislation acknowledge it offers a smorgasbord of benefits for the oil, natural gas, coal, electricity and nuclear power industries.” [Reuters, 11/23/03]
Allen criticized Menendez bill to repeal oil subsidies as a “Washington approach that picks winners and losers.” An entry on the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Virginia Politics Blog reported: “Allen also ended his silence on the [oil subsidies] issue Thursday. ‘When the government raises taxes on any enterprise or business, it is the consumers who ultimately foot the bill for the added costs imposed by the government,’ said campaign spokeswoman Katie Wright. ‘Tim Kaine and his allies are pushing for the same Washington approach that picks winners and losers, just like they did with Solyndra,’ she added. ‘With Virginia families paying over $30 more at the pump to fill up today, it’s disappointing that Mr. Kaine’s ‘immediate action’ doesn’t include allowing Virginia to produce oil off our coasts, which the President is preventing, nor allowing for the construction of the Keystone Pipeline.’” [Richmond Times-Dispatch, 3/29/12].
Big oil profits spiked beginning in 2002, reaching record levels from 2005-2008. As the Center for American Progress has documented, profits for the world’s five largest oil companies dramatically increased beginning in 2002, reaching record levels from 2005-2008. The CAP report further noted that these five companies “have made more than $1 trillion in profits from 2001 through 2011.” [Center for American Progress, 2/7/12].
Allen has received over $1.5 million from the energy sector during his Senate campaigns. This includes $629,847 from the oil and gas industry. [Center for Responsive Politics; Center for Responsive Politics]
Allen received second-most money from energy sector among Senators for the 2006 election cycle. He remains among the top-20 top Senate recipients of energy industry money ever, despite serving only one term from 2001-2007. [Center for Responsive Politics; Center for Responsive Politics]
Allen received $20,000 running project of oil-industry-funded group. The Washington Post reported of Allen: “These days, he says, he is focused on his consulting business, his book and the work of his think tank, which is a project of the oil-industry-funded Institute for Energy Research.” A separate Post article further noted: “In 2009, Allen launched the American Energy Freedom Center, a 501(c)(3) organization, to educate and influence the public about energy issues. The center was formed as a project of the Institute for Energy Research, a conservative group that advocates for free-market energy and environmental policy. Thomas Pyle, the institute’s president and a former oil industry lobbyist and aide to former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), said he helped start the center because he knew Allen and the men agree on many energy issues. Institute records show that it gave the center nearly $140,000 in seed money its first year and Pyle said it also provided in-kind services before the center spun off. … Allen’s financial disclosures show that he received $20,000 to be the center’s chairman between Jan. 1, 2010, and early last month.” Media Matters for America noted that “ExxonMobil Corp. has disclosed that it has provided funding for the [Institute for Energy Research],” and “the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation -- the president of which is an executive vice president of Koch Industries, whose subsidiaries ‘have been in the petroleum business since 1940’ -- donated $85,000 in grants to the institute between 1997 and 2005.” [Washington Post, 8/14/09; Washington Post, 9/24/11; Media Matters for America, 6/25/10]
* LCV's trademark "Dirty Dozen" program targets candidates for Congress — regardless of party affiliation — who consistently vote against clean energy and conservation and are running in races in which LCV has a serious chance to affect the outcome. Since 1996, more than 60 percent of the "Dirty Dozen" have been defeated.
Paid for by the League of Conservation Voters, www.lcv.org, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.
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