Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Cheney and the Environment, Part II

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.

1 comment:

redbarb said...

You are right that the number one exchange between interest groups and politicians is money for access. However, political science research shows that the access has policy consequences. The influence is often at the committee and subcommittee level in what is in the bill or whether a bill is ever seen again. Particularly for policies with high levels of complexity and low levels of salience for voters, the money equals access equation works well for the donors.