The mainstream media have begun to take notice that the environmental movement is spending a lot of money to elect candidates in the 4th November elections. Chris Mooney, an environmental advocate-reporter who was recently hired to write a Washington Post blog, posted an article on 27thOctober with the headline, “Environmental Groups Are Spending an Unprecedented $85 million in the 2014 Elections.” Mooney got his figures from a 24th October memo (posted here) by five leaders of the effort: Joe Bonfiglio of the Environmental Defense Action Fund, Sky Gallegos of NextGen Climate Action (the group funded by billionaire Tom Steyer), Heather Taylor-Miesle of the NRDC Action Fund, Daniel J. Weiss of the League of Conservation Voters, and Melissa Williams of the Sierra Club.
Greenwire (subscription required) headlined its article on the scale of environmental pressure group spending in the election, “Are Money and Power Changing the Environmental Movement?” That may have been a newsworthy topic about twenty-five or thirty years ago. In an excellent front-page article in the Washington Times, Valerie Richardson focuses on a much more timely angle—the fact that all this spending has done little to make climate change and other environmental concerns into major campaign issues.
Richardson writes: San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer has spent a staggering $76 million to promote climate change as a political issue in this year’s elections, but the subject isn’t exactly firing up the electorate. Polls show voters continue to rank climate change at the bottom of their priority lists. Even in races featuring the ‘Steyer Seven,’ the Democratic candidates selected by Mr. Steyer as the chief beneficiaries of his largesse, the issue is barely registering on the campaign trail.”
The fact that their issues aren’t resonating with voters has been noticed by the environmental pressure groups trying to maintain a Democratic majority in the Senate. As a result, many of the ads that they are paying for are on other issues, such as abortion, all the money being spent on behalf of Republicans by the Koch brothers, and various economic issues.