Saturday, January 21, 2012

Behind the Ohio earthquakes: Big money leads to big risks

Behind the Ohio earthquakes: Big money leads to big risks
By Betsey Piette
Published Jan 14, 2012 10:49 AM


Campaign contributions pay off
In the last three years, campaign contributions from natural gas companies have more than tripled, especially in the wake of the January 2010 Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision giving corporations the same rights as individuals.
Kasich came to office in 2010 thanks to heavy financial backing from the oil and gas industry. He received $213,519 in campaign contributions from oil and gas interests — the most of any politician in Ohio, according to Common Cause. It found Ohio’s fracking regulations to be among the weakest of any state.

The report tracked $2.8 million in energy industry campaign contributions to Ohio politicians, including House Speaker John Boehner, who raised $186,900 from fracking interests.
Pennsylvania’s governor, Tom Corbett, beat them both — taking in more than $1.6 million from the energy industry. It has shelled out $747 million in political contributions in the last 10 years, according to Common Cause.

Aubrey McClendon, Chesapeake’s chief executive officer and one of Corbett’s earliest backers, contributed $450,000 to finance Corbett’s 2004 run for attorney general in Pennsylvania. McClendon has told shareholders that Ohio’s Utica Shale could be worth $15 billion to $20 billion.

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