Pro-public financing group calls on Moreland Commission to probe pro-fracking donors

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A coalition of advocates called on an anti-corruption panel to probe campaign donations from pro-hydrofracking interests Monday, after a good-government group detailed more than $14 million in contributions to politicians and political parties.

According to Common Cause/NY, a total of 183 entities who support shale-gas drilling donated to campaigns since January 2007, with some of the state Legislature’s top fracking advocates on the receiving end.

Sen. Thomas Libous, R-Binghamton, was the biggest beneficiary, with his campaign taking in $353,205, according to the analysis.

“Powerful businesses and industries which stand to benefit from fracking use campaign contributions to gain influence with their local lawmakers, candidates, and party organizations,” Common Cause/NY Executive Director Susan Lerner said in a statement. “We see a wide spectrum of fracking-related interests taking full advantage of New York’s lax campaign finance laws in the hope of a future payday if fracking is permitted.”

(Of note: Common Cause’s national parent received $215,000 since 2010 from the Park Foundation, an Ithaca-based philanthropic fund who has provided grants to dozens of anti-fracking groups, to fund various iterations of its report. The group also received $100,000 from Park this year for its “Media and Democracy Reform Initiative.”)

A total of 16 pro-drilling entities donated more than $250,000 since 2007, Common Cause found. They’re led by Hiscock & Barclay, an Albany-based law firm and lobbying group that has spent close to $753,000 on campaign donations.

Fair Elections for New York, a coalition of groups pushing for a public campaign finance option in the state, issued a statement calling on the Moreland Commission — an anti-corruption panel empowered last month by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman — to subpoena records involving the donations.

Common Cause’s analysis included donations not just from the gas industry, but from firms, companies and unions who have supported shale-gas drilling. In many cases, the entities have interests in Albany other than fracking, including General Electric and major law firms like Harris Beach. Hiscock & Barclay represents oil-and-gas companies and, through a subsidiary, pro-drilling landowners, along with various other energy, real estate and corporate interests.

If the pro-drilling interests are donating in hopes of getting a green light for high-volume fracking in New York, so far they have been unsuccessful. On Tuesday, a de facto moratorium on large-scale fracking in New York will have been in place for five years.

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8 Comments

  1. What did just happen here?. . “A coalition of advocates called on an anti-corruption panel to probe campaign donations from pro-hydrofracking interests Monday, after a good-government group detailed more than $14 million in contributions to politicians and political parties.

    According to Common Cause/NY, a total of 183 entities who supporthe-gas drilling donated to campaigns since January 2007, with some of the state Legislature’s top fracking advocates on the receiving end.”

    And, who is this “Jake from Statefarm?” And, the Wife grabs the telephone from the Husband’s hand and asks “what are you wearing Jake from Statefarm!” Its 3AM in the Morning. . . LOL!

    Ladies and Gentlemen! America doesn’t need the Present Day Norm or Practices of “Common Causé HABIBHASAN-An AmericanvStoryteller”!

    America needs Rule of Law and Justice For All!

    HABIBHASAN-An American Storyteller

  2. Joanne Corey on

    I am a constituent of Senator Libous and it is very frustrating that he is much more responsive to the gas industry than to his own constituents. He doesn’t even acknowledge correspondence from his constituents if he does not agree with your viewpoint. It’s the same situation dealing with Broome County Executive – and gas-drilling-company-money recipient Debbie Preston. I support public financing of elections to increase the chances that elected officials will govern for the common good rather than the good of special interests.

  3. Well! You have raised very good points. . .This is How these Self-Demarcated “Senators” Practically operate! I have similar experiences with 2 such Individuals. . .

    Its a well-documented long Story Short! And, what I wanted to highlight is when you mentioned in Your Comment that ” I support public financing of elections to increase the chances that elected officials will govern for the common good rather than the good of special interests.”

    I agree with you! But, past 25 Years of My First Hand and Direct Engagements in Local, State and Federal Political Process. . . What, I observed is that ” anyone who says or is for Public” eventually becomes the same what they used to despise once they lick the wet road! LOL!

    And, they become the same and worst of what they used to be against! $500000 bought a Town Council Seat and a Job in Police Department in My Town for an electrician!

    And, what I don’t really understand is the ” Prejudices” of such Individuals!

    What would be Your Recommendation on that aspect?

    HABIBHASAN-An American Storyteller

  4. Annie Lenihan on

    Where is the list of the people/groups/corporations who donated? Why just bring up Libous? This is nothing new. Maybe the list is linked? What is the purpose of this article if there is no information of any value in it?

  5. Taxpayer1301 on

    Investigating the contributions is a good idea. Might as well add papers like the Ithaca Journal who run pro-fracking hit pieces on a regular basis while suppressing anti-fracking, anti-natural gas comment from local citizens.

  6. Taxpayer 1301, you have it backwards, the Gannett newspapers, including the Ithaca journal, Binghamton Press, Rockland Journal news, Rochester Democrat all run ANTI-FRACKING stories an leave them on their website for days. When Pro drilling, property rights articles are published, they stay on the websites for a few hours and then are pulled down or pushed into sub-folders. GANNETT IS ANTI-FRACKING and they prove it with their articles. ANTI’s ARE LIARS, Drilling is occuring safely in 29 other states but not NY, NY IS NOT OPEN FOR BUSINESS! King Andy has made a deal with the anti-frackers, upstate will not forget this come Nov 2014.

  7. Kathleen A. Reynolds on

    No Ed 12309, it is you who is the liar. Lots of evidence is now coming out as to how fracking is not safe, and is not occurring safely in the 29 states which experience water pollution, air pollution, sickness, earthquakes, sick people, sick animals, hideous debasement of the environment. Do not repeat the same old lies the industry feeds you.

  8. What evidence, produce the evidence. There is none, the EPA, NY DEC, PA DEP, US DOE, US Bureau of Land Reclamaion, all state that HVHF can and is being perfomed safely. The ANTI’s ARE LIARS to try to stop the process in NY. They will not succeed. Drive over to Susquehanna County in PA, new homes, new cars, fields of cows and crops, reduced property taxes, new schools. What is different is the economic benefit enjoyed by the entire society. ANTI’s ARE LIARS!