Jul 10, 2008
Rerun Sodrel and the Lost Crusade
A Mysterious Big Oil
Backed Misadventure to ANWR
Republican Rerun Mike Sodrel
Big Oil Special Interests
Lobbying Group Arctic Power
Appearances by Several B-List GOP Congressional Candidates
Republican Rerun Mike Sodrel and several B-List congressional candidates announced recently they are embarking on a mysterious big-oil backed "fact-finding mission" to the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR). This elaborate political stunt is being organized by Arctic Power, a lobbying group with deep ties to oil and gas special interests who have contributed over $70,000 to the ex-Congressman's political campaigns.
"The lengths Re-run Mike Sodrel and these B-list candidates will go to advocate Big Oil's agenda knows no bounds. Sodrel is even allowing lobbyists with close ties to oil companies to chaperone him on a ‘fact-finding' crusade to ANWR - making this trip about as serious as a professional wrestling match," said Doug Thornell, spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "Unfortunately, like Vice President Dick Cheney, Sodrel would rather have his energy policy spoon fed to him by Big Oil special interests who have been bankrolling his campaigns instead of standing up for consumers at the pump."
In advance of the voyage, the DCCC has prepared 5 questions for Sodrel to answer:
1) Where does Arctic Power receive all of their funding from and do you intend to meet with opponents of ANWR drilling?
2) What is the full itinerary and cost for the Alaska trip and are you using your personal or campaign funds to pay for it?
3) Do you support the "Use It or Lose It" legislation?
4) How much will drilling in ANWR reduce the price of a gallon of gas in 2008? How about 2010? How about 2012?
5) How is your approach to reducing gas prices different from President Bush's?
- Arctic Power Lobbying Congress Since 1992. According to the Anchorage Daily News, "Arctic Power has been working Congress since 1992, and has spent most of its money lobbying to open ANWR. The coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge remains closed to oil exploration." [Anchorage Daily News (Alaska), Editorial, 4/23/08]
- Exxon Mobil Said Lobbying for ANWR was Done Through Arctic Power. According to the Washington Post, "A spokesman for Exxon Mobil Corp., the world's largest publicly traded oil company, said its lobbying on the refuge is done through a group called Arctic Power, of which the company is a member. Arctic Power says it has arranged for native Alaskans who support drilling to meet with more than 100 lawmakers on the issue." [Washington Post, 10/27/05]
- Former Representative Mike Sodrel receives strong financial support from the Oil and Gas Industry. Sodrel has received $71,412 from the oil and gas industry contributors. [OpenSecrets.org]
- A 2004 study by the government's Energy Information Administration (EIA) found that drilling in ANWR would trim the price of gas by 3.5 cents a gallon by 2027. [Time, 6/18/08]
- Mike Sodrel's colleagues on this trip are often referred to as less than serious candidates:
o "The list of freshmen who appear to have scared off serious opponents includes Reps. Zack Space (D-Ohio), Brad Ellsworth (D-Ind.) and Heath Shuler (D-N.C.), all of whom represent heavily Republican districts. That could mean a pass in what history suggests is often the toughest re-election race for a House member: the first." [Chicago Tribune, 3-14-08]
o "In the House, Republicans have largely failed to recruit credible candidates for the swing-district seat of retiring Rep. Jerry Weller (R-Ill.) or to challenge several Democratic freshmen who took GOP seats in 2006. They include Zack Space of Ohio, Joe Courtney of Connecticut, Chris Carney and Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania, John Hall of New York, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Heath Shuler of North Carolina." [Washington Post, 3/16/08]
o "In the race for South Dakota's lone House seat, only one Republican filed to run against Democratic Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin,: Businessman Chris Lien is not considered a serious threat for Herseth Sandlin, whose popularity and strong name identification make her a near sure bet for a third full term. CQ Politics rates the race as Safe Democrat." [CQ, 3/26/08]