Thursday, October 28, 2010

Money, the 2010 Election Season, and the Environment: Dave Leventhal of Open Secrets and Andrew Restuccia of The Washington Independent

Talk Nation Radio for October 28, 2010
Money, the 2010 Election Season, and the Environment
Dave Leventhal of Open Secrets and Andrew Restuccia of The Washington Independent

We’ll look at how the massive influx of dollars has impacted races in various states. The political debates nationwide have centered vaguely on taxes, fear has been a major component, yet what about concern about global warming? That has fallen by the wayside during an election season that has been mainly focused on generic voter angst. We discuss elections in key states.

Produced by Dori Smith, Storrs, CT
TRT: 29:23
Download at Pacifica's audioport here or at and

Environmental groups like the Sierra Club and Clean Water Action have endorsed candidates. Still, they are scaling back their hopes and becoming more “realistic” according to our guest Andrew Restuccia of The Washington Independent. Andrew Restuccia writes about energy and the environment. He joins us to discuss his analysis of what might happen during the lame duck session and beyond when it comes to environmental legislation. How will key bills like Cap and Trade? Given the severity of the BP oil spill, can the new Congress pass a responsible package to respond to the disaster in 2010 and 2010? Or will it be gridlock?

And Dave Leventhal of Open Secrets explains how much money were talking about and the influence it has had on the 2010 Congressional Election. Dave Leventhal is communications director for the Center for Responsive Politics and editor of Open Secrets blog.

The group, Clean Water Action is calling the Rhode Island Governor’s race a priority, they’re endorsing Lincoln Chafee because of his vote to tighten mercury regulations on oil & gas power plants, and his authorship of the Brownfield’s Remediation Act. Chaffee also served on the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works. That group is also endorsing Democrats David Cicilline and Jim Langevin for the House. In Massachusetts, Clean Water Action favors Jim McGovern, Niki Tsongas, and Bill Keating for the House. Deval Patrick for Governor. For New York they see Carolyn Maloney as the better House candidate. Turning to Connecticut, the Sierra Club has endorsed Richard Blumenthal, who says his support for cap and trade is incontrovertible. The long time Attorney General is in a hotly contested race against Republican Linda McMahon. Bloggers at My Left Nutmeg, criticize McMahon for her position against cap and trade and also for claiming that Blumenthal wants to set up a quote: “energy tax”

Open Secrets: Blumenthal has long been considered pro environment in Connecticut, and is actually opposing large rate hikes by North East Utilities. What may be more important though is the fact that Linda McMahon has sunk a fortune into the race. She has purchased saturation ad time and says she will continue to spend as much as 50 million on the race. She has spent nearly 44 million compared to Richard Blumenthal’s $7 and a half million. McMahon’s campaign is 100% self financed while Blumenthal’s campaign is 30% self financed. (Open Secrets)

Elections in all states are influenced by donations to parties from the oil and gas industries, but some states are more targeted than others to include Louisiana, Alaska, and Colorado. (Open Secrets)

Andrew Restuccia of The Washington Independent: "First and foremost is whether negotiations behind the scenes can get on-the-fence Democrats like Sen. Mary Landrieu (La.) and some Republicans on board. These negotiations will likely focus on language in the bill that removes a company’s $75 million cap on economic liability in the event of a spill. Landrieu and Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), as well almost all Republicans, have raised concerns about the language.

Secondly, post-recess passage of the energy/oil spill bill will be dependent on the mood in the Senate after lawmakers talk to their constituents. It seems like it would be difficult to leave for the year without passing any legislation responding to the spill, but a lot will depend on pre-election jitters."

Underwriting for this program
was brought to you by, political analysis from outside the standard framework. Jeremy R. Hammond is founder and editor of and a recipient of the Project Censored 2010 Award. At, you will find stories about US policy on Iran, negotiating with the Taliban, Gaza, and more.

See: "Thin Evidence from War Logs of Iranian Backing of Iraqi Militias", Jeremy R. Hammond,
"Under the headline “Leaked Reports Detail Iran’s Aid for Iraqi Militias“, the New York Times reports that documents from the Wikileaks Iraq War Logs “provide a ground-level look – at least as seen by American units in the field and the United States’ military intelligence – at the shadow war between the United States and Iraqi militias backed by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.”

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