Thursday, November 19, 2009

Last year, clean-coal group spent almost $40 million on lobbying, broadly defined (including TV spots)

New data released by the Internal Revenue Service offers a better glimpse at exactly how much money the coal and oil industries spent in 2008 on lobbying and public relations. The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity "spent nearly $40 million on advertising, grass-roots outreach and communicating its message at federal and state levels," Anne C. Mulern of Greenwire reports for The New York Times. ACCCE had previously disclosed to Congress that it spent $9.9 million on lobbying in 2008.

The difference between the two figures stems from the options Congress gives groups to use to account for lobbying money. ACCCE and many other organizations chose an options that allows them to omit advertising, grass-roots organizing and state and local lobbying from the figures reported to Congress, Mulern reports. ACCCE spends millions on advertising "clean coal." Tyson Slocum, director of watchdog group Public Citizen's energy program, told Mulern, "It's very crucial that we have adequate disclosure and more frequent disclosure so people know these ads are connected."

Besides the ad campaign, ACCCE said it spent money on Web activity, teams working in several states, and outreach to reporters so its information landed in news stories, Mulern reports. The group is mostly funded by coal, railroad and electric companies. (Read more)

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