Report: Natual gas-related firms contributed $8 million to state politicians since 2000

    The natural gas industry and related trade groups have now given nearly $8 million to Pennsylvania state candidates and political committees since 2000, according to new research by Common Cause Pennsylvania and Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania.

    The web site marcellusmoney.org maintains a searchable database of the contributions.

    Common Cause’s press release follows:

    Top recipients of industry money given between 2000 and April 2012 were Gov. Tom Corbett (R) with $1,813,205.59, Sen. President Joseph Scarnati (R-25) with $359,145.72, Rep. Dave Reed (R-62) with $137,532.33, House Majority Leader Rep. Mike Turzai (R-28) with $98,600, and Sen. Don White (R-41) with $94,150.

    Total contributions from natural gas interests between 2000 and 2012: $8 million

    Total lobbying expenditures by natural gas interests between 2007 and 2012: $15.7 million

    After reaching an all-time annual high of $1.6 million in 2010, the new study found that contributions declined to $560,800 in 2011. Lobbying expenditures surged during this same period, however, with $5 million being spent in 2011, an increase of $1 million from 2010. An additional $1.8 million was spent in the first three months of 2012, bringing the total since Q1 2007 to $15.7 million.

    “The industry has largely had its way in Pennsylvania and has spent millions to put their friends in the state legislature and the Governor’s mansion,” said James Browning, Regional Director of State Operations for Common Cause. “The industry’s focus now is on protecting these investments and maintaining access to key elected officials.”

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