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Supreme Court Decision Will "Open Floodgates" for Big Oil, Corporate Spending Against Energy Reform

Contact: Kate Geller, (202) 785-8683 or January 21, 2010  

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Citizens United vs. FEC, declaring that corporations are permitted to make independent expenditures and electioneering communications under federal election law. This ruling would allow all corporations to make unlimited communications, such as advertising, that advocate for or against federal candidates.
LCV President Gene Karpinski released the following statement on the Court’s decision:
“This decision will open the floodgates for oil companies like Exxon to spend vast sums of money to influence the outcome of federal elections in favor of candidates who stand with them and against a clean energy future. With unlimited spending in the electoral arena, misinformation campaigns by Big Oil and other special interests will be amplified and more lethal, potentially drowning out the voices of the majority of Americans who support investing in clean American energy and reducing harmful carbon pollution.”
With this decision, opponents of energy reform will become especially empowered in federal elections. For-profit corporations such as Exxon Mobil now have the ability to tap into their general treasuries for their electoral work, as opposed to having to work through more restricted connected federal PACs.   For example -- Exxon Mobil's federal PAC spent just over $800,000 in the 2007-2008 cycle.*  During the same time period, Exxon Mobil spent more than $46 million on lobbying at the federal level, an advocacy area where there are no limits on how much can be spent.**

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