Sunday, November 19, 2006

It's still tax breaks for some, not for all; follow the stocks, campaign contributions

While the new congressional majority, Democrats, plan to eliminate some "big" oil company tax breaks sounds good on the surface, a deeper look reveals many tax breaks will be retained, and in some cases, expanded? It's just shuffling around the tax-breaks, depending on who is in power at the time. Everybody follow the money - which companies will get breaks, which will just get slightly less of a break, and which members of Congress own stock and where. Deeper delving ... campaign contributions, and don't forget the Abramoff scandal...

Nov 19, 3:54 AM EST
Dems Take Aim at Oil Company Tax Breaks
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- House Democrats are targeting billions of dollars in oil company tax breaks for quick repeal next year. A broader energy proposal that would boost alternative energy sources and conservation is expected to be put off until later.

Hot-button issues such as a tax on the oil industry's windfall profits or sharp increases in automobile fuel economy probably will not gain much ground given the narrow Democratic majorities in the House and Senate.

Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in an outline of priorities over the first 100 hours of the next Congress in January, promises to begin a move toward greater energy independence "by rolling back the multibillion dollar subsidies for Big Oil."

Yet the energy plan being assembled by Pelosi's aides for the initial round of legislation is less ambitious than her pronouncement might suggest.

For the most part, the tax benefits are ones that lawmakers talked of repealing this year when Congress struggled to respond to the public outcry over soaring summer fuel prices and oil companies' huge profits.

Topping the list for repeal are:

-Tax breaks for refinery expansion and for geological studies to help oil exploration.

-A measure passed two years ago primarily to promote domestic manufacturing. It allows oil companies to take a tax credit if they chose to drill in this country instead of going abroad...

...Other oil tax breaks probably will go unchallenged. That includes some passed by Congress only a year ago and others already targeted for repeal this year.

For example, House Democrats have no plans to change a provision that allows oil companies to avoid billions of dollars in taxes by the way they calculate inventories. The Senate this year agreed to a repeal; the effort was abandoned amid House GOP opposition and an uproar from other industries that also benefit from the tax language.

House Democrats also are shying away from tampering with more than $1 billion worth of oil- and gas-related tax breaks, enacted last year. These breaks largely benefit small companies or gas utilities rather than the major oil companies now awash in cash.

Nevertheless, the House and Senate are expected to push legislation early to force oil companies to renegotiate flawed offshore drilling leases that have allowed the companies to avoid paying federal royalties. The loss eventually could cost the government $10 billion, according to some congressional estimates.

Other prime targets of House and Senate Democrats include:

-Alleged price gouging. Proposals to create a federal price gouging law for gasoline and other fuels probably will move quickly.

-More incentives and mandates to expand the use of ethanol and biodiesel as a substitute for gasoline. Requiring oil companies to phase in retail pumps that deliver fuel that is 85 percent ethanol.

-Requiring power companies to produce a percentage of their electricity from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power. Such a measure is a priority of Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., incoming chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

-Extending energy efficiency tax credits approved by Congress last year. Most are scheduled to expire at the end of next year.

-Expanding a tax break for buyers of gas-electric hybrid cars and offering more incentives for automakers to build greater numbers of the vehicles...
Democratic Agenda - Legislative Priorities
- National Journal, Marilyn Werber Serafini
November 10, 2006

House and Senate Democrats laid claim to their new majority with a legislative agenda aimed at redirecting the course set by Republicans over the past six years and bringing bills to the floor that GOP leaders had blocked. At the same time, Democrats tempered their ambitious talk with promises of bipartisanship



House Democrats will promote clean energy sources, particularly ethanol and biodiesel, with an aim toward making the nation foreign-oil independent by 2020. Pelosi vows to overturn the oil industry's tax and royalty relief programs granted by the Republican-controlled Congress. Democrats will also block Republican efforts to allow oil and natural-gas drilling off U.S. coasts and to open new Alaskan lands to oil development. Internal party divisions are likely to prevent Democrats from mandating that carmakers produce more fuel-efficient vehicles.


Democrats will tackle global warming by pushing for cuts in emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. However, they'll face tough opposition from Republicans and from one of their own, Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., who's expected to chair the Energy and Commerce Committee and who is closely allied with the interests of automakers. Democrats will hold oversight hearings on White House programs governing Superfund toxic-waste cleanups, mercury controls on power plants, and logging and road building on undeveloped federal lands. They'll oppose administration efforts to expand oil and natural-gas development, logging, and mining on federal lands. Democrats will block Republican efforts to rewrite the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, which requires environmental impact studies on federally funded projects.

Farm Bill

Congress next year must extend the 2002 farm bill or rewrite it. The 2002 bill was popular with farmers because it promised crop and dairy farmers payments when prices are low and put a floor under sugar prices. But its subsidies are unpopular with Bush, environmentalists, and developing countries. As chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., would push for a bill extension, plus a permanent disaster aid program and programs to encourage ethanol and other biofuel production.

Native Tribes and People, Lands and Resources -- and the Predatory Forces [And the Bingaman Indian Energy Bill] Hunter Gray 1/07/02


In this context, the Indian energy resources bill just introduced into
Congress by New Mexico Senator Jeff Bingaman is worth watching carefully.
It obviously leans heavily in the direction of tribally
owned/controlled/operated energy resources -- and it would serve the
interests of Native energy consumers as well. And it seeks to do all of
this with great sensitivity to Native cultural concerns -- placing, among
other things, considerable emphasis on Sun and Wind as power sources.

It's a bill worth watching. If it remains relatively "pure," then it's
worth supporting -- as an essentially positive step.

What will happen to this bill in that jungle of human and institutional
predators into which it's now been formally introduced is -- well, highly
speculative. The Bush administration's response to it is, at this incipient
juncture, pro forma polite -- but those forces are certainly talking up
"business involvement. " And, obviously, that's not just a pervasive
Republican thing.

Most Democrats in the House and Senate are certainly in the same corporate
canoe -- on the same River of No Return...

Where can I find information about all of the political figures, state and federal, who received cash from Abramoff.


NEED I SAY MORE. Incumbent Senate Democrat-Affiliated Campaign And Leadership Committees Received Over $729,000 From Indian Tribe Clients And Lobbying Associates Of Jack Abramoff*. (Campaign Finance Analysis Project Website,, Accessed December 7, 2005; Political Money Line Website,, Accessed December 7, 2005; Internal Revenue Service Website,, Accessed April 21, 2005) 40 Of The 45 Members Of The Senate Democrat Caucus: * Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) Received At Least – $22,500 * Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) Received At Least – $6,500 * Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE) Received At Least – $1,250 * Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) Received At Least – $2,000 * Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) Received At Least – $20,250 * Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) Received At Least – $21,765 * Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) Received At Least – $7,500 * Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) Received At Least – $12,950 * Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) Received At Least – $8,000 * Senator Jon Corzine (D-NJ) Received At Least – $7,500 * Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) Received At Least – $14,792 * Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) Received At Least – $79,300 * Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) Received At Least – $14,000 * Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) Received At Least – $2,000 * Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) Received At Least – $1,250 * Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) Received At Least – $45,750 * Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI) Received At Least – $9,000 * Senator Jim Jeffords (I-VT) Received At Least – $2,000 * Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) Received At Least – $14,250 * Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) Received At Least – $3,300 * Senator John Kerry (D-MA) Received At Least – $98,550 * Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) Received At Least – $28,000 * Senator Pat Leahy (D-VT) Received At Least – $4,000 * Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) Received At Least – $6,000 * Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT) Received At Least – $29,830 * Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) Received At Least – $14,891 * Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) Received At Least – $10,550 * Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) Received At Least – $78,991 * Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) Received At Least – $20,168 * Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) Received At Least – $5,200 * Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) Received At Least – $7,500 * Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) Received At Least – $2,300 * Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) Received At Least – $3,500 * Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) Received At Least – $68,941 * Senator John Rockefeller (D-WV) Received At Least – $4,000 * Senator Ken Salazar (D-CO) Received At Least – $4,500 * Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) Received At Least – $4,300 * Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) Received At Least – $29,550 * Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) Received At Least – $6,250 * Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) Received At Least – $6,250..


Tribal Clients And Associates Of Jack Abramoff Have Contributed Over $3.1 Million To Democrat Party Interests Between 1997 And 2004. (Campaign Finance Analysis Project Website, [7], Accessed December 2005; Political Money Line Website, [8], Accessed December 2005)

National Democrat Party Affiliated Committees Received Over $1.2 Million From Indian Tribe Clients And Lobbying Associates Of Jack Abramoff. (Campaign Finance Analysis Project Website, [7], Accessed December 7, 2005; Political Money Line Website, [8], Accessed December 7, 2005; Internal Revenue Service Website, [11], Accessed April 21, 2005)

The Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) Received Over ? $430,000 The Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Received Over ? $629,000 The Democrat National Committee (DNC) Received Over ? $177,000

Incumbent Senate Democrat-Affiliated Campaign And Leadership Committees Received Over $729,000 From Indian Tribe Clients And Lobbying Associates Of Jack Abramoff*. (Campaign Finance Analysis Project Website, [7], Accessed December 7, 2005; Political Money Line Website, [8], Accessed December 7, 2005; Internal Revenue Service Website, [11], Accessed April 21, 2005)

40 Of The 45 Members Of The Senate Democrat Caucus...

UPDATE.........January 11,2006
The Washington Times
Dean denies party ties to Abramoff
By Donald Lambro

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean says that Democrats took no money from Jack Abramoff in the lobbying scandal, but a public-interest group official said yesterday that they did accept contributions from the lobbyist's clients, who were trying to buy influence. Mr. Dean has stepped up attacks on Republicans, charging, "Every person named in this scandal is a Republican." "Every person under investigation is a Republican. Every person indicted is a Republican. This is a Republican finance scandal," Mr. Dean said Sunday on CNN's "Late Edition." But Republican officials and a major public-integrity group counter his assertion with a growing list of Democrats who have received contributions from American Indian tribes represented by Abramoff, who has pleaded guilty to tax evasion and fraud in connection with his lobbying activities. "What our list shows is that both Republicans and Democrats received contributions from Indian tribes that were represented at one time by Jack Abramoff," said Lawrence Noble, executive director and general counsel for the Center for Responsive Politics. "So the answer to Dean depends on how you define scandal," Mr. Noble said. "I would say, broadly defined as a question of the tribes' buying influence in Washington, it includes Democrats." The political news wire the Hotline has compiled a list of nearly three dozen Democrats who have received campaign contributions from Abramoff-related tribes...

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