BP, Exxon and Corporate Interests Secretly Fund Fake Groups in $800,000 Attack Campaign Against John Laird


*News Release*
June 16, 2010

Jenesse Miller, (510) 844-0235

BP, EXXON and Corporate Interests Secretly Fund Fake Groups in $800,000 Attack Campaign Against John Laird

Senior Advocates League is a front group for oil, chemical, insurance and tobacco corporations

The California League of Conservation Voters today denounced a coordinated $800,000 mail, radio and television attack campaign to smear Senate candidate John Laird with laundered funds from corporate interests including oil spill giants BP and Exxon as well as chemical, insurance and tobacco companies. Records at the Secretary of State show these corporations have committed at least $800,000 in media buys and political mailers to influence the June 22 special election in the largely coastal 15th state Senate District. Similar “independent” smear campaigns were conducted by these same corporate groups in failed attempts against other environmental candidates in the June 8th primary election.

Documents presented by CLCV reveal that this smear campaign includes the use of a newly-created “shell” group purporting to represent seniors, but entirely funded by a coalition of these corporations.

"This is dirty politics at its worst," said Warner Chabot, Chief Executive Officer of CLCV. "Voters should reject this dirty and deceptive campaign funded by oil companies and other corporations in a coordinated smear campaign intended to damage environmental champion John Laird in favor of Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee."

“BP and Exxon have done enough to poison the waters of Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico," said Chabot. "The coastal voters of Senate District 15 don’t want them polluting California’s waters or our state government."

CLCV research finds:

  • A coordinated $800,000 mail, radio and T.V attack campaign by groups representing oil, chemical, insurance, tobacco and real estate giants.
  • Funding by organizations like CJAC (Civil Justice Association of CA), and JobsPAC, which are funded by more than 40 major corporate and business groups.
  • The so-called “Senior Advocates League” is a “shell group” created last month, entirely funded by these same corporations.
  • Key corporate funders include B.P. Exxon, Dow Chemical and Altria (one of the world's largest tobacco corporations, formerly known as Philip Morris).
  • Other corporate backers are Mercury Insurance (funder of the failed Prop 17 to raise auto insurance rates and Anthem Blue Cross, the health insurance firm under fire for a jaw dropping, double digit rate hike).
  • This same coalition was exposed in various media stories (e.g. the L.A. Times and Huffington Post), for spending millions in the last month on failed, attack campaigns on environmental champions running in several California legislative races.

CLCV has endorsed John Laird, who has a 100% lifetime score in the organization's California Environmental Scorecard, in the special election in Senate District 15.

For details, read our fact sheet at http://www.ecovote.org/news/laird-061810.pdf and follow the links at right.

About the California League of Conservation Voters

The political muscle of the environmental movement in America’s leading environmental state, the California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV) is the nation’s oldest grassroots environmental political action organization. CLCV uses sophisticated campaign tools to help elect pro-environment officials — and to hold them accountable for passing legislation to protect health, communities and the environment. CLCV publishes the annual California Environmental Scorecard, which rates the actions of every state legislator and the governor on the state’s environmental priorities each legislative year. For more information, visit www.ecovote.org.

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