Federal Election Commission reports covering the post-election period of November 27 through December 31 show that Big Energy was quick to back Congressman Keith Rothfus after his defeat of Congressman Mark Critz in Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District.
According to Politico, ExxonMobil’s PAC dropped $22,000 during the period, $5,000 of which went to Congressman Rothfus.
Politico also reports that coal company PACs reported disbursing at least $66,000 during the period, with Alpha Natural Resources PAC alone spending over $30,000. Included in the $30K spent by Alpha were $5,000 contributions to Congressman Rothfus, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and the PA Coal Alliance PAC.
A closer look at the Rothfus for Congress FEC Report of Receipts and Disbursements shows even stronger support from energy PACs than what is listed by Politico. Rothfus received $2,000.00 from the Marathon Petroleum Corporation Employees PAC and a total of $4,000 from NiSource Inc. PAC, which Follow the Money lists as a gas and electric utility.
Here’s why this is (politically) important:
During the entire 2011-2012 campaign, Open Secrets reports that candidate Rothfus received $21,000 from Oil and Gas PACs.
In the filing period following his victory, Congressman-elect Rothfus received $16,000.
During the entire 2011-2012 campaign, Congressman Mark Critz, as the incumbent and as a Democrat, received $49,750 from Oil and Gas PACs according to Open Secrets.
At this pace, you can bet that Congressman Rothfus will be raking in the big bucks from Big Energy leading up to the 2014 election.
In terms of his ideology, Rothfus is the ideal candidate for energy companies.
At a candidates forum in 2010, Rothfus said that he believes the sciences is “still out” on global warming, and even if the world is getting hotter, that’s not a bad thing:
I do not believe it’s man-made, and I am not convinced that it’s a fact. I think the science is still out. I think for the last 15 years we haven’t had any warming. I think you go back when we had a medieval warm period, where we were growing crops in Greenland. We could do that maybe if we kept warming up over the next 20 to 30 years.
Hear that, all you eco-facists? If the world gets hotter, it is an opportunity to do more farming. That’s the kind of talk that energy PACs love to hear.
At the same forum, Rothfus said he supports “reining the EPA in,” and that he is “very concerned that the EPA is treating carbon dioxide as a pollutant.”
Most coal companies also tend to believe that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. Carbon dioxide is just a harmless, natural byproduct of nature. Right?
During the 2012 cycle, Rothfus made a centerpiece of his campaign “re-lighting America” from the 12th District, which he calls “America’s energy capital.” Look for this theme to continue, and to become an even bigger focus for Rothfus in the current cycle.