We Can Toss Industry Shills Out of Office if We Make the Effort

Lissa Lucas made the long trip to the West Virginia House of Delegates to provide much-needed context on bill HB 4268, a fossil fuel-industry backed bill, and with good reason.

The bill is designed to allow drilling to proceed without the consent of all affected private landowners–you know, the people drinking from the water table that might be poisoned and whose families and children live on the land that could be destroyed by a spill, explosion, or fracking-induced earthquake.

Lucas thought voters should be aware just how many of their elected representatives were paid off by oil and gas interests, and she came armed with a full list of names and numbers.

Unfortunately, she didn’t get very far, as she was asked to cut her testimony short, and dragged out by security when she refused.

West Virginia is a purple state, but Republicans currently have a strong majority in both state houses. Unfortunately, this is the kind of behavior that is becoming increasingly common among Republican majorities at both the state and federal level, with one of the most well-known early examples in the current Republican era being Mitch McConnell’s questionable use of Rule 19 (supported by a partisan vote) to silence Elizabeth Warren and cut off her criticisms of then-attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions. McConnell then famously defended his actions stating that she had been warned but, “nevertheless, she persisted,” unintentionally creating a rallying cry for feminism.

But Bernie Sanders, technically a Democrat, has been hammering home the point for years that the political disenfranchisement of ordinary Americans has increasingly less to do with party affiliation and more to do with donor affiliation. What Lucas was pointing out was the tremendous conflict of interest of all these lawmakers voting on a bill that benefits oil and gas companies when those same oil and gas companies made major contributions to the lawmakers’ political campaigns.

It’s not wrong to call these out as dirty, backroom deals between special interests and corrupt politicians which sell out ordinary citizens. But they’re not the most competent conspirators. We know who gets money from Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Banks, and so on. We know when a bill is written (often literally) by the same donor group that stands to benefit from it.

This information is publicly available. There just aren’t enough people paying attention. Voters need to move beyond party and push out all kinds of corporate shills from office, in state and federal races, in primaries and generals, in Senate races, House races, gubernatorial races, and mayoral races. It could all be done in a single election cycle. So that begs the question…

How can you help?

You can follow CounterPac, an accountability action group that aims to help people call out and vote against big money when it shows up in your local, state, and federal representative races.

You could also pay close attention to the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge and support those candidates, from any party, over a candidate that is taking money from the industry. You can make your own pledge that being bought-and-paid-for by a harmful, vampiric industry is a deal-breaker for any politician seeking your vote, even if there are other things you like about their campaign or they happen to be in the party you support.

By the way, if you happen to live in West Virgina, Lissa Lucas, who drove all the way to Charleston to keep her state representatives honest, only to be silenced and dragged away for her efforts, is running for office. Maybe give her a serious look (and you can donate if you don’t live in her district).

Photo Credit: ProgressOhio/Flickr

38 comments

Paulo R
Paulo R3 months ago

ty

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Paulo R
Paulo R3 months ago

ty

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Eric L
Eric Lees3 months ago

@Bill E
"As long as our law treats money as "free speech" we will have industry shills in government."

Be careful what you wish for Bill! Do you really want to let them put restrictions on the 1st amendment?

I would rather have full transparency on political donations. Let us follow the money!

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Eric L
Eric Lees3 months ago

Yes but only if we stop voting for the lesser evil from the 2 party Oligarchy.

@Cruel Justice
"Not voting republican would be an excellent start."
Not if you just vote for the other wing of the Oligarchy.

Educate yourself people. We can take back our country but it will take a paradigm shift.

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Winn A
Winnie A3 months ago

Thanks

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Margie FOURIE
Margie FOURIE3 months ago

Thank you

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Anne M
Anne M3 months ago

Interesting video,, shows that the truth,, does indeed hurt... - I think she got her point across though,, even if they didn’t let her finish..

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Carole R
Carole R3 months ago

Thanks for posting.

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Rhoberta E
Rhoberta E3 months ago

brian f
Then if you are SO opposed, why did you vote FOR Ms. Clinton and the Democrats
(wait for the excuses) BOT

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Sandra Vito
Sandra V3 months ago

Thanks

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