- Liberal watchdog groups Energy and Policy Institute and Center for Media and Democracy have put together a spreadsheet of utility-backed donations to assist governors and attorneys general in the next election cycle, finding contributions to Republicans far outpaced Democrats.
- According to the group, utilities and executives gave more than $1.15 million to the Republican Governors Association in the first half of this year. The Democratic Governors Association received less than $300,000.
- In a similar vein, Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) also received more than $270,000 in donations, compared with $65,000 to the Democratic Attorneys General Association.
There are 36 governorships up for grabs in the 2018 election, and EPI points out that the Republican party is looking to defend in more than two dozen of them. On the attorneys general side, Republicans are defending 18 seats next year.
Edison Electric Institute, which represents investor owned utilities, did not issue a comment on the donations by press time. But UtilitySecrets.org has published audio of a fundraiser it says clearly shows why the industry is lining up behind more conservative candidates.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrissey is on tape at a 2016 RAGA fundraiser telling potential donors, "many of you know over the last year, year-and-a-half, we’ve really been focusing a great deal on a lot of the EPA litigations."
Morrissey, who was has been spearheading the fight against the Clean Power Plan, told donors "I really am grateful for your help ... things have gone well, as you know, we helped lead the charge against the president’s Power Plan, obtaining the stay."
A coalition of 29 states and state agencies partly led by Morrisey appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to stay implementation of the Clean Power Plan. In a 5-4 ruling last year, the high court ordered the Obama administration to hold off on any efforts to implement the plan until legal challenges are exhausted.
Morrissey went on to push the hard sale for donations, saying "the only way I get to stay is through your incredible generosity, so thank you all for coming today. Thanks for your support and if you haven’t written a check, I’d be grateful if you could."
Montana Attorney General Tim Fox highlighted the need for attorneys general on the same side of the fight to band together, at the same fundraiser.
"When we collaborate and get together ... with Patrick Morrisey and push back against the federal government, or get together and write a letter to the federal government or whatever it is, we make a difference when there is 27, 28, 29, 30 or more attorneys general," Fox is heard saying, pressing for donations."So thank you for supporting each of our attorneys general in RAGA, and thank you for supporting me. You won’t go broke, and it’ll be one of the best investments you’ll ever make."