A New York Times editorial has blasted the latest end run around campaign finance regulations, being carried out by Members of Congress and their friends in industry. It involves unlimited giving by companies to charities set up by U.S. Representatives and Senators, who then return the favor by supporting those companies' legislative agendas. The editorial cited the example of James Clyburn, the third most powerful Democrat in the House, stating: "...consider the dozen or so nuclear energy companies that were suddenly interested in financing scholarships for needy South Carolina students once Representative James Clyburn set up a charity to do so. The foundation holds an annual golf tournament and dinner at which corporate givers can hang around Mr. Clyburn, the Democratic whip, and donate to his favorite charity. Nuclear companies said openly they were happy to reward Mr. Clyburn for his support of their industry." These nuclear companies include: Fluor Daniel, Savannah River Remediation, Nuclear Innovation North America LLC, Nuclear Energy Institute, Shaw Areva Mox Services LLC, Duke Energy, Progress Energy, and SCANA. Several of those very companies are the same ones whose lobbyists are working the "halls of power" to secure nuclear loan guarantees and other subsidies worth tens or even hundreds of billions of dollars -- at taxpayer risk and expense -- for new reactors and other atomic facilities in the U.S.
Could such corporate largesse explain why, as Congress comes back into session, there are numerous ways that the nuclear power industries' lobbyists are seeking expanded loan guarantees and other subsidies? We must remain vigilant against such moves in appropriations bills, energy bills, even tax, defense, and oil disaster response bills. Contact your Representative and Senators via the Capitol Switchboard, (202) 224-3121, and urge them to block any further taxpayer giveaways to the filthy rich nuclear power industry.