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Mitt Romney: The $200 Million Man


Billionaire Oil Baron Koch Brothers Plan to Spend More Than $200 Million on 2012 – “Potentially Much More.” According to Politico, “David and Charles Koch plan to steer more than $200 million — potentially much more — to conservative groups ahead of Election Day, POLITICO has learned. That puts their libertarian-leaning network in the same league as the most active of the groups in the more establishment-oriented network conceived last year by veteran GOP operatives Rove and Ed Gillespie, which plans to raise $240 million.” [Politico, 10/11/11]

"Principle Goal" and “Real Focus” of Koch's is to Win Presidential Race. In an article about the Koch's attempted takeover of the Cato Institute, the Chairman of Cato's board said David Koch told him a primary goal of their groups was to defeat President Obama. According to Slate, "In early November, David Koch met with Bob Levy, chairman of Cato’s board of directors, at Dulles International Airport. They were joined by Richard Fink, Koch's chief adviser, and Kevin Gentry, a vice president of Charles Koch’s charitable foundation who’d been put on Cato’s board of directors. (Former Americans for Prosperity President Nancy Pfotenhauer had joined the board after the same meeting.) “They said that a principle goal was to defeat Barack Obama,” remembered Levy. “The way David [Koch] put it was, ‘We would like you to provide intellectual ammunition that we can then use at Americans for Prosperity and our allied organizations.’ AFP and others would apply Cato's work to advance their electoral goals.”" According to Mother Jones magazine reporting on the Kochs, “the real focus was making Barack Obama a one-term president.” [Mother Jones, November/December 2011; Slate, 3/5/12]

New Yorker: “The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama.” In a long investigative piece, the New Yorker looked at the Koch Brother’s ‘war against Obama.’ [New Yorker, 8/30/10]

Oil Company Profits Padded by Tax Breaks – Profits That are Recycled For Ad Campaigns. According to a New York Times editorial, “President Obama and the Senate Democrats have again fallen short in their quest to eliminate billions of dollars in unnecessary tax breaks for an oil industry that is rolling in enormous profits. A big reason for that failure is that some of those profits are being continuously recycled to win the support of pliable legislators, underwrite misleading advertising campaigns and advance an energy policy defined solely by more oil and gas production.” [New York Times, 3/30/12]

Romney: I Don’t Want to Raise Taxes on Oil Companies; Targeting Oil Tax Breaks is "Dangerous." In response to the ads that the Obama Campaign and Priorities USA Action were running, which criticized Romney's support for tax breaks for oil companies, Romney said at a townhall meeting, "He blames me for the high price of gasoline because I don’t want to raise taxes on oil companies. I don’t like raising taxes on anybody." He then calls the President's proposal to single out tax breaks for oil companies for elimination as "dangerous." [Romney Townhall in Delaware, 4/10/12]

Romney dismissed eliminating oil subsidies as a “gimmick.” In an April 17 press release, Romney stated that President Obama’s plan to “target oil and gas producers for higher taxes” is part of a “government by gimmick” strategy. [Romney press release, 4/17/12]

Romney also pledged support for oil company subsidies during the 2008 campaign. The New York Times reported: "In a written response to questions about his energy positions, Romney said Friday, ‘Now is not the right time to raise taxes on our oil companies.’”A graphic in the Times listed Romney's position on 'Tax Breaks For Oil And Gas Companies' as 'Would Not Repeal.' [New York Times, 11/28/07]

Romney Endorsed 2011 and 2012 Versions of Ryan Budget Plan. [Los Angeles Times, 3/20/12; Politico, 3/22/12; ABC News, 6/2/11; Romney Release, 12/8/11]

2011 and 2012 Ryan Plans Protect Tax Breaks for Oil Companies.  According to an article by Newsweek’s White House Correspondent Daniel Stone, “When House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan unveiled the GOP blueprint for cutting government spending, he asked Americans to make sacrifices on everything from Medicare to education, while preserving lucrative tax subsidies for the booming oil, mining and energy industries.” According to the Center for American Progress, “But while high prices threaten the economy and family budgets, they enrich American oil companies with huge profits. Yet it appears that House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) proposed FY 2013 budget resolution would retain a decade’s worth of oil tax breaks worth $40 billion.” [Newsweek/The Daily Beast, 6/17/11; Center for American Progress, 3/20/12]

Every 1 Cent Increase in Gas Prices Yields $200 Million Increase in Quarterly Profits for Just Top Five Oil Companies. “This Center for American Progress analysis finds that each penny rise in the average quarterly (three months) price of a gallon of gas corresponds to a $200 million increase in quarterly profits of the big five oil companies” [Center for American Progress, 2/28/12]

Higher gas prices increase oil companies’ profits. According to ExxonMobil, “Here’s a simple fact of economics that’s getting everyone in Washington pretty excited this week: When prices increase for a commodity like oil, companies that produce and sell that commodity earn more money.” [ExxonMobil Perspectives, 4/27/11] 

Romney's top energy adviser is a billionaire oil executive.  Bloomberg reported: “Mitt Romney, the front-runner for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, appointed Oklahoma oil billionaire Harold Hamm as energy adviser to his campaign. Hamm, the 66-year-old founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Continental Resources Inc. (CLR), will be chairman of Romney’s Energy Policy Advisory Group, the candidate’s campaign office said in a statement today.” [Bloomberg, 3/1/12; Think Progress, 2/21/12]

American Energy Alliance Running Ads Attacking President Obama and Closely Tied to Koch Brothers, billionaire oil executives. According to Politico, “The group launching a $3.6 million ad campaign hitting President Barack Obama on gasoline prices has deep ties to the billionaire libertarian industrialists Charles and David Koch. The American Energy Alliance is the political arm of the Institute for Energy Research, and sources tell POLITICO that both groups are funded partly by the Koch brothers and their donor network. The groups are run by Tom Pyle, a former lobbyist for Koch Industries. Pyle regularly attends the mega-donor summits organized by the Koch brothers, including the 2012 winter summit in Indian Wells, Calif., where the Kochs raised more than $150 million to be directed to groups ahead of the general election.” [Politico, 3/29/12; American EnergyAlliance]

Oil-backed outside groups have spent over $16 million on energy attack ads since January, many targeting Obama. According to Think Progress, “In the first three-and-a-half months of 2012, groups including Americans for Prosperity, American Petroleum Institute, Crossroads GPS, and American Energy Alliance have spent $16,750,000 on energy attack ads.” Many of these ads have directly attacked President Obama. Americans for Prosperity and the American Energy Alliance are partially funded by the Koch brothers.  Crossroads GPS does not disclose most of its donors, but its sister organization American Crossroads’ “donors include oil and gas executives,” as Think Progress noted. [ThinkProgress, 4/12/12]

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