The Citizens United decision can have insidious environmental effects at the state and local level.
Big money, often out-of-state, may flow into the campaign coffers of conservative state legislators with hostile positions on forest preservation, concentrated animal feeding operations, coal emissions, clean water, and other environmental issues.
Organizations and individuals can make unlimited independent expenditures to help or hurt specific candidates. Such spending is reported to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), but sources of funds need not be disclosed. Not reported to the FEC are funds spent for “issue ads,” ads that do not explicitly advocate any particular candidate’s election or defeat. Much information about who has received money from whom can be found at Open Secrets.
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has a tentacle on the environment (see related story). ALEC preaches climate-change-denial to state legislators, works to block President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, and opposes renewable energy in the U.S.
ALEC has instructed its member state legislators to wage “guerrilla warfare” against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and thwart any exposition of the adversities of man-made climate change.
For a listing of Indiana Legislators with ties to ALEC, visit the Center for Media and Democracy’s Sourcewatch.