A report comparing PAC (political action
committee) contributions made to congressional campaigns by the
League of Conservation Voters (LCV) and the recipient's support
for the environmental movement, as measured by the LCV; published
by The National Center for Public Policy Research
May 1, 1996 * By Bob Adams, Project Director, Environmental
and Regulatory Affairs
Greenbacks for Green Votes 2 is a side-by-side comparison of PAC (political action committee) contributions made to congressional campaigns by The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) and the recipient's support for the environmental movement's agenda, as measured by the League's own National Environmental Scorecard. This Greenbacks analysis of the House of Representatives for the first session of the 104th Congress was compiled using Federal Election Commission reports and the League of Conservation Voters' National Environmental Scorecard.
The National Environmental Scorecard analyzes what it considers to be the twelve most important votes taken during the first session of the 104th Congress affecting the environment. The individual member's record is averaged into an "LCV Score," which is the percentage of votes in favor of the green agenda.
Greenbacks for Green Votes 2 does not challenge the right of political action committees to support candidates for public office. However, the public has a right to know to whom PACs contribute, and how closely votes by recipients of these funds match the stated agenda of the contributor, in this case the LCV. Only then can citizens determine for themselves if congressional supporters of the regulatory agenda are motivated by conviction or captive to special interests.
The League of Conservation Voters
The League of Conservation Voters, founded in 1970 by Friends of the Earth, is the largest of two environmental political action committees. A former president, Bruce Babbitt, who is now secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, once described the LCV's mission in a League Scorecard of candidates as to "identify our enemies and drive them into oblivion." This special interest group, based in Washington, D.C., "identifies" and attempts to defeat its opposition through such publications as the National Environmental Scorecard and by giving congressional candidates who agree to their big government environmental agenda thousands of dollars in campaign money.
While the LCV considers itself to be non-partisan, according to FEC records they provided 95% of their $777,717 in PAC money to Democratic candidates in the 1994 election cycle. The League of Conservation Voters' top PAC award went to Democratic Congressman Sam Farr for $13,500, while the top Republican taker, Congressman Vernon Ehlers, walked away with only $6,000. Overall, 155 Democratic candidates received funds compared to only nine Republicans.
The League of Conservation Voters' current President, Debra
Callahan, says the LCV is "gratified that President Clinton
and environmental champions in both parties found their voice
as the year went on.... Particularly hopeful is the emergence
of a small but growing band of Republican supporters led by Representative
Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) [a recipient of $5,354]."
The Targeted Green Votes
The vote rating is an average of twelve significant environmental and regulatory reform bills passed by the House of Representatives during the first session of the 104th Congress. The re-authorization of the Clean Water Act, H.R. 961, is scored twice because the League "considers this legislation so environmentally harmful." According to the LCV, a vote against these measures was a vote for the environmental agenda. Highlights of the twelve votes include:
PAC Dollars Given, and the "LCV Score"
(influence rating, % of votes favoring special interest's agenda):
|Frank Pallone, Jr.||DEM||NJ||$8,836||100%|
Greenbacks for Green Votes 2 sources include Trashing the Economy by Ron Arnold and Alan Gottlieb of The Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise; Regulation Watch, U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee, January 6, 1995; The Scorecard, the League of Conservation Voters, February 1996; Federal Election Commission records; "Using the Appropriations Process to curb EPA's Regulatory Excesses," Heritage Foundation Issue Bulletin No. 213, September 13, 1995; the Congressional Record, June 28, 1995; and the Relief Report, The National Center for Public Policy Research.
The Environmental Policy Task Force is a project of The National Center for Public Policy Research. The task force was established to find and promote innovative, workable solutions to environmental problems -- solutions that minimize the suffering of working Americans while still protecting the environment.
The National Center for Public Policy Research is a non-partisan, non-profit, Washington, D.C. public policy institute. Since it was founded in 1982, The National Center has conducted extensive domestic and public policy programs, including the publication of National Policy Analysis research and analysis papers, succinct and timely "Talking Points on the Economy" cards, and the regulatory reform fax newsletter "The Relief Report," among many other educational programs.
All correspondence relating to Greenbacks for Green Votes 2 should be directed to: The Environmental Policy Task Force, The National Center for Public Policy Research, E-mail [email protected]. (C) Copyright 1996 The National Center for Public Policy Research. Excerpts may be reprinted provided original source is credited. ###
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