A prime case was the $150,000 given by Consol Energy, which is the top producer of underground-mined coal and also has natural-gas interests, to a group supporting Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Consol, formerly Consolidation Coal Co., "paid a $5.5 million fine last year for violations of the Clean Water Act at six of its mines," AP notes. "It is lobbying to prohibit the federal government from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. Weeks after the company gave money to support Romney, who previously had agreed that humans are contributing to climate change, the candidate appeared to back off that position and said he would oppose spending high amounts of federal money to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, like those from coal plants."
The pro-Romney committee, Restore Our Future, "spent $8.8 million on ads in Florida alone, more than Romney's own campaign," AP reports. "A Romney campaign spokeswoman, Andrea Saul, dismissed any suggestion that wealthy donors are motivated by their private interests to fund the committee's operations." As long as the committee doesn't consult with the Romney campaign, it can accept unlimited contributions. The story deals with other candidates, in both parties. To read it, click here.
Not all the givers in the presidential race will be public. "More than a third of the advertising tied to the presidential race has been funded by nonprofit groups that will never have to reveal their donors, suggesting that a significant portion of the 2012 elections will be wrapped in a vast cloak of secrecy," Dan Eggen reports for The Washington Post. "The bulk of the secret money spent so far has come from conservative groups seeking to propel a Republican into the White House, advertising data show. . . . Crossroads GPS, a nonprofit group backed by GOP political guru Karl Rove, has spent more than $10 million on ads targeting Obama over the federal deficit, energy policies and other issues in the 2012 cycle." (Read more)