I already wrote a fair amount about the Washington Post series that wrapped up today with chapter 4 on Cheney's environmental legacy as Vice President. Kevin Drum's blog mentions former EPA head Christine Todd Whitman's admission that she resigned because she couldn't defend the ultra-lax environmental regulations she was being asked to write. He ends with this:
Needless to say, the power and refinery industry was a heavy contributor to the Bush-Cheney campaign. Just a coincidence, though, I'm sure.
The money didn't hurt, but the whole idea of buying votes and influence is generally overblown. Money will get you face time with a candidate, but beyond that it's sort of a chicken-or-egg argument: did energy companies contribute to buy policies that they wanted, or did they contribute heavily because they knew Bush-Cheney already supported the policies they wanted? Both happen, but I think it's usually the latter.