Get Toxic Spending Out Of Politics Now!
The Toxic Substances Control Act, passed in 1976 to protect Americans from dangerous and untested chemical products, is in dire need of an update. Unfortunately, as a new Common Cause report details, that’s unlikely so long as the chemical industry is free to spend millions of dollars on politics, encouraging elected officials to put their needs ahead of ours.
“Toxic Spending: The Political Expenditures of the Chemical Industry, 2005-2012” details political contributions by corporations like Dow, DuPont, and Exxon-Mobil and their top executives, as well as lobbying and ad buys by the American Chemistry Council, the industry’s lobby.
The chemical industry has made $39 million in campaign donations in the past seven years, and between 2005 and June 2012, spent $333 million on lobbying federal officials. Compared to the industry’s annual revenue of $760 billion, even hundreds of millions are a drop in the bucket, and if the return on this investment is political access and influence, its one they’ll keep making.
The report also discusses how the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United emboldened the industry to step up its political involvement—chemical companies and their wealthiest executives have donated over $23 million to Super PACs in this election cycle alone.
The industry also has spent nearly $3 million on independent advertising, with nearly $1 million going to the two largest beneficiaries, Senate candidate Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin and incumbent Rep. Gene Green in Texas.
The report’s authors highlight a worrying trend—while scientists are discovering more and more evidence that chemicals we use daily may be harmful, the companies that get rich off them are spending more on lobbying and campaigns and fighting to stave off regulation.
There’s only one way out of this mess, and that’s by reforming out broken campaign finance system. Our lawmakers are for sale; chemical companies are using campaign contributions to buy their support. We need a government that’s responsible to public health and safety, not to donors’ profits. The only way we’re going to get that is by getting toxic money out of politics once and for all.