“Energy Independence”: A Formula For Attacking Energy Production


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Environmentalist groups want
the new Congress to reject common sense
policies encouraging more domestic energy
production to wean America off foreign energy.
Instead, green groups want to discourage
energy production and consumption of
the most readily available sources: coal, oil
and natural gas, because they generate carbon
dioxide (CO2), and nuclear, which produces
no CO2. For green groups, “energy
independence” seems to mean not depending
on energy! Will the new Congress yield
to their pressures?

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“Energy Independence”: A Formula For Attacking Energy Production

  1. 1. “Energy Independence”:A Formula For Attacking Energy Productionby James DellingerJanuary 2007CONTENTS“Energy Independence”: A FormulaFor Attacking Energy ProductionPage 1Briefly NotedPage 6Summary: Environmentalist groups wantthe new Congress to reject common sensepoliciesencouragingmoredomesticenergyproduction to wean America off foreign en-ergy.Instead,greengroupswanttodiscour-age energy production and consumption ofthe most readily available sources: coal, oiland natural gas, because they generate car-bon dioxide (CO2), and nuclear, which pro-duces no CO2. For green groups, “energyindependence” seems to mean not depend-ing on energy! Will the new Congress yieldto their pressures?Green groups say they want publicpolicies that will make the U.S. lessdependent on foreign energysources, but they oppose efforts to produceenergyusingthenaturalresourcesintheU.S.thataremostreadilyavailable.What’swrongwith this picture?At every turn, radical environmental orga-nizations block the creation of a domesticenergy infrastructure for the large-scale en-ergy-generating technologies (e.g. nuclearpower, coal, oil and natural gas) that havebeen proven cost-effective, efficient, andreliable. Instead, they champion technolo-gies that are not economically feasible with-out massive government subsidies (e.g. so-lar power, wind power). These groups pre-tend to support energy independence evenas they undermine energy development athome.Environmental Defense (ED), the networkof Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs),the Natural Resources Defense Council(NRDC), the Apollo Alliance, Greenpeace,EarthIslandInstitute,DefendersofWildlife,the CERES investors’ network, RainforestAction Network (RAN), and the Sierra Clubare masters of obstruction. Well-connectedand well-funded, their power in Washingtonrests on a base of donors whose utopianvision of America’s future energy needs isradicallyatoddswiththerequirementsoftheAmerican public.Add to this the issue of climate change. Forthe environmental movement, “global warm-ing” is yet another monkey wrench to throwat domestic energy development projects. Ifthe U.S. is to reduce its imports of foreign oiland its dependence on the Mideast, Venezu-elaandothertroubledpartsoftheworld,thenpolicymakers must support the expansion ofU.S.coalandnuclearfacilitiesandthedevel-opment of America’s own oil and natural gasreserves.America needs hydrocarbon-based fuel.Neithergreednorlustnoraddictionexplainswhy America runs on coal, oil and naturalgas. The Energy InformationAdministration’s newly released AnnualEnergy Outlook 2007 states:“Despite the projected rapid growth ofbiofuelsandothernon-hydroelectricrenew-Rainforest Action Network is one of several environmentalist groups that espouses“energyindependence”whilesimultaneouslyopposingallnewenergydevelopmentthat actually decreases America’s dependence on foreign energy.
  2. 2. OrganizationTrends2 January 2007Editor: Matthew VadumPublisher: Terrence ScanlonOrganization Trendsis published by Capital ResearchCenter, a non-partisan education andresearch organization, classified bythe IRS as a 501(c)(3) public charity.Address:1513 16th Street, N.W.Washington, DC 20036-1480Phone: (202) 483-6900Long-Distance: (800) 459-3950E-mail Address:mvadum@capitalresearch.orgWeb Site:http://www.capitalresearch.orgOrganization Trends welcomes lettersto the editor.Reprints are available for $2.50 prepaidto Capital Research Center.able energies and the expectation of the firstnew orders for nuclear power plants in over25 years, oil, coal, and natural gas are none-thelessprojectedtoprovideroughlythesame86% share of the total U.S. primary energysupply in 2030 as they did in 2005…”What Price “Energy Independence”?Since the Arab oil embargo of the 1970sAmerican pundits and politicians have tire-lesslyurgedthenationtoenditsdependenceon foreign energy sources. The calls for“energy independence” have only grownlouder and more frequent since the terroristattacks of 2001, and they were endorsed byPresident George W. Bush who flatly statedin his 2006 State of the Union address:“America is addicted to oil, which is oftenimported from unstable parts of the world.”Regrettably, environmental groups believethisgoalrequiresjob-killinggovernmentregu-lations that will inflict long-term damage onthe U.S. economy and reliance on costly andunproven new technologies. Their pie-in-the-sky ideas are expensive and, if imple-mented, would do little to augment U.S. en-ergy supplies. Yet the mainstream mediauncriticallyechotheviewsofenvironmentalgroups that claim America’s energy prob-lems can be solved by installing millions ofsolarrooftoppanelsandmicrowindmillsandplantingfieldsofswitchgrass.Quicktochal-lenge the motives of industry groups, themediaseldomquestionthegreengroupsthatlobby for higher energy taxes, want limits onindustrial and household carbon emissions,and demand the removal of energy-produc-ing dams said to threaten endangered spe-cies.Labor unions might be expected to rejectthisapproach,buttheytoohaveboughtintothe environmentalist view of “energy inde-pendence.”TheAFL-CIOiseagertocementa political coalition against the Bush admin-istration, and unions like the United Steel-workers see prospects for job-creation-andunion-organizing-in many green policy pro-posals. (See the October 2006Labor Watch,“TheNewLabor-EnvironmentalistCoalition:Blue and Green and Red All Over,” by RyanEllis, on the strategic alliance between theSierra Club and steelworkers.)In the post 9-11 world, almost every groupclaims to be an advocate for “energy inde-pendence,” but that’s because each definesthe concept to its own benefit.The Apollo Alliance for Good Jobs andClean Energy is an offshoot of the left-winggroup Campaign for America’s Future. Itsadvisory board is peppered with left-liberaland labor-backed officeholders and advo-cates, among them unsuccessful Californiagubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides,NAACP chairman Julian Bond, Steel Work-erspresidentLeoGerardandtheSierraClub’sexecutive director, Carl Pope. The Allianceslogan: “Three million new jobs. No depen-dence on foreign oil.”But industrial labor unions, neo-conserva-tive hawks and farm state Republicans havefiguredoutawaytoworktogethertopromote“energy independence,” which they arguewill save the environment, create jobs, pro-tect national security and support agricul-ture.In March 2005 the Apollo Alliance an-nouncedthatitwouldconduct“jointefforts”with the conservative-leaning Set AmericaFree Coalition. The Coalition’s members in-clude Frank Gaffney of the Center for Secu-rity Policy, Mideast expert Dr. Daniel Pipes,former CIA director James Woolsey, Repre-sentativeJackKingston(R-GA),CliffMayofthe Foundation for the Defense of Democra-cies,andformerRepublicanpresidentialcan-didate Gary Bauer. However, the Coalitionalso includes former Senators Tom Daschle(D-SD) and Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), andChafee’s successor, Senator SheldonWhitehouse (D-RI). The tag-line for SetAmerica Free is “Cut dependence on foreignoil. Secure America.”Set America Free urges Americans not tosettle for easy answers. When politiciansblameBigOil,votersshouldtellthemthatit’sforeign governments that control most oilreserves. And when politicians mouth sup-port for alternative fuels to generate electric-ity,SetAmericaFreeurgesvotersto“remindthem that unlike in the 1970s, today only 2%of U.S. electricity is generated from oil, andthat most of our oil is consumed in the trans-portation sector - a good reason to encour-age plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.”Then there’s the Energy Security Leader-shipCouncil,agroupofretiredmilitaryoffic-ers and corporate chiefs. It issued a state-ment in December calling for significantlytougherCAFEfuelefficiencystandards,withthe goal of making America less dependenton foreign oil. The group is co-chaired byformerGeneralP.X.Kelley,whowasthetop-ranked officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, andFrederickW.Smith,chiefexecutiveofficerofFedEx Corp.Lawmakers have responded to such calls.In the 109th Congress RepresentativeKingstonintroducedH.R.4409,theproposed“Vehicle and Fuel Choices for American Se-curity Act,” a bill combining regulations andtaxincentivestoencourageautomakers,farm-ers and consumers to reduce oil consump-tion by 20% in 20 years. In the House, 22 ofits 26 original co-sponsors were Republi-cans. Kingston, whose home state is a majorproducer of peanuts, also supports usingpeanuts to produce biodiesel fuel.A companion measure, S. 2025, was intro-duced in the Senate by Indiana DemocratEvan Bayh. Five of its ten Senate co-spon-sorswereRepublicans,includingAlabama’sJeff Sessions, Sam Brownback of Kansas,andMinnesota’sNormColeman.SaidDeronLovaas of the NRDC, “This bill specifies theends but leaves flexible the means.” He re-gretted that the bill did not mandate the
  3. 3. 3January 2007OrganizationTrendstighteningofCAFEfuelefficiencystandards,butaddedthechillingobservation:“Still,it’saveryambitiousmandate,somewhatliketheCleanAirActinitsbreadthandtheflexibilityof its interpretation.”But keeping foreign energy out of Americais easier said than done. Despite efforts byOPECmemberstatestosethighenergyprices,as tradable commodities hydrocarbons (i.e.oil, natural gas, coal) and other energy re-sources instantly respond to changes insupply and demand in world markets. Advo-cacy groups that support real “energy inde-pendence” will favor public policies that al-low competition between energy sources,domestic and international. They will let themostefficientlypricedsourcesgeneratebuy-ers and sellers.By contrast, the Apollo Alliance, the pri-mary umbrella group for progressives in thisfight, parrots a Malthusian line:“Now America has an Apollo project for the21st century. Today the stakes are much,much higher. We face an economy hemor-rhaging its highest paying and most produc-tivejobs,citiesfallingapartwithoveratrilliondollars in unmet public investment in crum-blingschools,transportation,andinfrastruc-ture. The middle class is increasingly inse-cure as career ladders are broken and notreplaced in new service sector jobs. And ona global scale we face never before seenenvironmentaldisruption,risingsocialineq-uity, and the emergence of fundamentalistanger that threatens our very security.”The Green Agenda:No Global Warming, No Nuclear PowerBusiness groups will have their hands fulldealing with an onslaught of new energylegislation from the Democratic Congress.Theyareweighingtheoddsoftheiradversar-ies’ success and will cut deals to accommo-date green demands. Even Bush Republi-cans are reassessing their positions on theenvironment.Global warming is one issue high on theDemocrats’ agenda. Truman Semans, direc-tor of markets and business strategy at thePew Center on Global Climate Change, toldthe Washington Post that, “at least half adozen of the companies that belong to thecenter’sBusinessEnvironmentalLeadershipCouncil have recently hired staff membersfocused on global warming.”Bush administration insiders seem ready todo something on global warming as well.GOP pollster Whit Ayres will conduct poll-ingandgrassrootsoperationsworkforEnvi-ronmental Defense, which also has hiredformer Bush communications aide TuckerEskew. Eskew embraced the green agenda aweek after the election, according to newsreports. “The president has indicated that amarket-based cap [on carbon emissions] ison his list of options. And it’s pretty high onthe list; it’s in second place,” he said.Notsurprisingly,formerEPAdirectorChris-tineToddWhitmanisurgingthepresidenttoturn himself inside-out:“Bush must compromise and the Democratsmust meet him halfway. He has an opportu-nity in the next two years, but voluntaryprograms are not enough. There should be amandatory cap on emissions. The WhiteHouse has indicated they are willing to talk.The State of the Union address is the way tostate these views. The climate of politics hastochange.Thepresidenthasanopportunityto work with the new Democratic leaders inCongress,” said Whitman, the former NewJersey governor.California’s Barbara Boxer, who is slated toreplaceOklahoma’sJamesInhofeasthenewchairman of the Senate Environment andPublic Works Committee, has announcedhearings on global warming and climatechange legislation. She expects her bill willlook much like the law signed by CaliforniaGovernor Arnold Schwarzenegger in Sep-tember. It is supposed to cut carbon emis-sions to 1990 levels by the year 2020, a 25%reduction.Some green groups downplay expectationsfor the incoming Congress. Vicki Arroyo,director of policy analysis at the Pew Center,is cautious. The “incoming two-year Con-gress is relatively moderate,” said Arroyo,and it is “likelier to go for a gradualist ap-proach, implementing climate-friendly lawsthat nibble at President George W. Bush’svoluntary approach on carbon emissionsrather than bulldoze it away completely.”Such a tack “may not be as sweeping as, forexample,theEU[carbon]tradingsystem…butit could lay the groundwork for a tradingsystem, for example, by requiring mandatoryreporting of greenhouse gas emissions.”Similarly, the Sierra Club’s Pope warns,“Over the next two years I don’t think envi-ronmental policy is going to change radi-cally.”Butheadded,“Ithinktheenvironmen-talagendaandconversationwillchangeradi-cally.”Nuclear power is another priority issue formany environmental groups, and politiciansare targeting the Indian Point Energy Center,a nuclear power plant that opened in the1970sontheHudsonRiverinNewYorkstate.The plant generates 10% of the state’s elec-tricity.The center’s operating license is currentlyup for renewal with the Nuclear RegulatoryCommission,whichhasprovoked70groups,including Greenpeace, the Sierra Club andRobertF.KennedyJr.’sgroupRiverkeepers,to form a coalition to shut the plant down.TheysayIndianPointthreatenspublicsafetybecause it is located only 40 miles from“Ground Zero” in Manhattan and could betargeted by terrorists. The plant, owned byEntergy Corporation, is unnecessary, theysay, pointing to a report by the NationalAcademy of Sciences that claims that shut-ting down the plant would be relatively easyandinexpensive.RepresentativeNitaLowey(D-NY),whocitestheriskthatradiationcouldbe released in the event of an accident orEnvironmentalist crusaderRobert F. Kennedy Jr.
  4. 4. OrganizationTrends4 January 2007For frequent updates on environmental groups,nonprofits, foundations, and labor unions, check out theCRC-Greenwatch Blog atwww.capitalresearch.org/blogterrorist attack, has said she is “thrilled” bythe report’s findings.However, that’s not all the report says.Supporters of nuclear energy counter thatthe $1 million taxpayer-funded study statesthat shutting Indian Point would make elec-tricity more expensive, strain natural gas in-ventories, and increase greenhouse gases inthe atmosphere. Electricity demand is grow-ing so rapidly in the area that constructinganother power plant would be too onerousand time-consuming. Patrick Moore, aGreenpeaceco-founderwholeftthegrouphenow considers extremist, observes, “Anypolitician who doesn’t support Indian Pointis basically asking for more air pollution.”This year Indian Point could pit two power-houseNewYorkpoliticianswithpresidentialambitions against each other. So far SenatorHillaryClintonhasresistedpressuretocomeout against the plant. But she demandstougher inspections and improved safetypolicies. By contrast, former New York Citymayor Rudy Giuliani strongly favors licenserenewal. “Indian Point is as safe as a facilitycan be,” said Giuliani, head of Giuliani Part-ners LLC, a security consulting firm he cre-atedin2002.Thestate’snewgovernor,Demo-crat Eliot Spitzer, favors shutting down theplant.Texas Hold ’Em--CoalIn addition to shuttering current energyfacilities, environmentalists are also on acrusadetohaltnewfacilityconstruction,andcoal power is an attractive target of opportu-nity.Here the greens’ hope for victory is fo-cused on an ambitious coal power develop-ment in Texas. Texas needs more electricitybecause it is the nation’s second fastest-growing state (after California). Now youmight think that advocates for energy inde-pendencewouldapplaudaTexas-basedcom-pany that uses coal mined in-state to gener-ate electricity for its Texas customers. Youwould be wrong.Environmental Defense (ED), Texas PIRG,RAN,CERESandothergroupsaremobilizingto stop TXU Corporation’s plans to invest$11billiontobuilduptoelevennewcoal-firedelectricity-generating plants. It will spend$2.5 billion on environmental technologyupgrades and create 14,000 permanent jobs.In its effort to bring affordable power toTexas, TXU is even willing to sign on to partof the greens’ campaign by offering to com-bat carbon emissions. TXU officials say thecompany supports “a comprehensive, vol-untary, technology-based approach to glo-balclimatechangebasedoncarbonintensitythat is both flexible and cost effective.”But even that proposal is rejected by envi-ronmentalists, who prefer a command-and-control approach over voluntary technol-ogy-based emission reductions.According to ED spokesman Colin Rowan,“We are at a point in time where other statesand businesses are starting to take globalwarming seriously. California is heading to-ward the future, and TXU and Texas aresprinting full speed back to the 1950s.” Ofcourse,Rowanfailedtomentionthataccord-ing to the Energy Information Administra-tionCalifornia’selectricityisamongthemostexpensive in the lower 48 states, and that itspower will be even more expensive thanks toSchwarzenegger’sglobalwarminginitiative.EnvironmentalistsaimtopreventTXUfromsecuring financing for the project. RAN hassentlettersto54financialinstitutionsaskingthem not to lend money for the project. Thelettersarebutafirststep.Shouldanybankbeso bold as to give TXU a loan it can expect tobevilified,subjectedtoboycottthreats,share-holder protests and political pressure. (See“Rainforest Action Network,” in the May2005 Organization Trends). RAN has urgedreaders of its blog to email TXU. “Let’s startby turning up the heat on TXU-Write TXUCEOJohnWilderanemailandtellhimclimateprotection MUST trump corporate greed orwe’re all cooked.”Unfortunately, these pressure tactics ap-pear increasingly effective in changing cor-porate attitudes. According to a recent Con-ferenceBoardsurveyreportedbyCFOMaga-zine in December, anti-lending campaignsconducted by CERES and RAN againstprojects they deem not environmentally-friendly are working. Such tactics have be-come standard operating procedure for ob-structionist groups, writes John Berlau in anew book,Eco-Freaks(NelsonCurrent,2006).2006 Hits and MissesLast year environmentalist groups foughtmanydifferentbattlesintheirattempttoforceAmericatobecarbon-free.Thegroupsscoredmany hits but had their share of misses.The California bellwether. In the fall elec-tion Defenders of Wildlife spent at least$500,000throughitsaffiliated527groupinitssuccessful campaign to unseat propertyrights champion Representative RichardPombo (R-CA), chairman of the House Re-sources Committee in the 109th Congress.Pombo was defeated by Democrat JerryMcNerney, a wind turbine entrepreneur.But California’s Proposition 87, a measureto impose an extraction tax on California oilproducers, was defeated at the polls. Eventhe liberal Los Angeles Times editorializedagainst the measure, saying the measure“defiesEcon101principles.”Thenewspaperlabeledtheproposedlevyan“extortiontax.”Hollywood playboy producer Steve Bing, amajor Democratic Party donor, spent nearly$50 million of his own money promoting theballotinitiative.Famedventurecapitalistandethanol enthusiast Vinod Khosla also con-tributed to the losing cause.Wind power. On the East coast, NRDC’sRobert F. Kennedy Jr. created some conster-nation by opposing the Cape Wind Project,which would replace an old coal power plantwith non-CO2emitting offshore wind power.It seems the Kennedy family summers inHyannisport, Cape Cod, and the 130-turbinewind-power project would be built in Horse-shoeShoalinNantucketSound,southoftheCape. It’s probably the only wind project
  5. 5. 5January 2007OrganizationTrendsRFK Jr. has opposed.Kennedy opposes the project on estheticgrounds. In an op-ed, he wrote that“[h]undreds of flashing lights to warn air-planes away from the turbines will steal thestars and nighttime views. The noise of theturbines will be audible onshore ... [and] theprojectwilldamagetheviewsfrom16historicsitesandlighthousesonthecapeandnearbyislands.”Greenpeaceandothergroupshaveassailed Kennedy for his elitist hypocrisy.The U.S. Supreme Court.In June 2006 theU.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case,Massachusetts v. EPA, on whether EPA hasthe power to regulate CO2emissions fromautomobiles.Environmentalistshopethehighcourtwillgivetheagencyapoweritdoesnotthink it should have but that future EPAappointees would be able to use to imposerestrictions on carbon emissions -- whetherornottheU.S.signstheKyotoProtocol.Thehigh court heard oral arguments November29 and is expected to render a decision thisyear.Iain Murray of the Competitive EnterpriseInstitute warns that a decision for the plain-tiffs (Massachusetts and 11 other states,New York City, Washington, D.C. and nu-merous other petitioners from green advo-cacygroups)wouldmeanthat“some70%ofthe electricity industry and 98% of the trans-portation industry - indeed the entire U.S.economy - would have to submit to regula-tion even more draconian than that set out inthe greenhouse gas-limiting Kyoto Protocolto the United Nations Framework Conven-tion on Climate Change.”MurrayfurtherpointsoutthatU.S.airqual-ity is affected by countries that don’t carehowmuchcarbondioxidetheirfactoriesemit:“California’sairisaffectedbybelchingsmoke-stacks and new cars in the rapidly growingeconomies of China and India, nations thatare exempt from the Kyoto Protocol. Even ifwereducedourCO2emissionstozero,ourairmight still violate standards.”Biofuels: Many environmental groups hailethanol as the fuel of the future and the keyto energy independence, even though it isexpensive to produce and yields fewer milesper gallon than gasoline. But a funny thinghappened on the way to the farm. As moreand more farm state Republicans begin totout ethanol’s virtues, the more reluctantsome green advocates are to endorse it.An odd mix of free trade supporters, socialjustice campaigners and environmentalistshascomeoutagainstethanol.Thesestrangebedfellows warn that increased reliance onethanol could increase world hunger.WorldwatchInstitutefounderLesterBrown,now president of the Earth Policy Institute,complains that ramped-up ethanol produc-tion would cause grain scarcity: “The grainrequired to fill an SUV tank,” he told theWashington Post, “could feed one personfor one year.” Although biofuel productionfattensthewalletsofMidwesterngrainfarm-ers, it puts upward price pressure on foodcommodities, which makes it much more dif-ficult for poor people abroad to feed them-selves.“Bytheendof2007,”Brownwroteina recent newsletter, “the emerging competi-tionbetweenthe800millionautomobileown-ers who want to maintain their mobility andtheworld’s2billionpoorestpeoplewhowantsimply to survive will be on center stage.”Oxfam and other humanitarian groups andenvironmental groups such as the Environ-mental Working Group (EWG) have joinedwithfree-marketthinktankssuchastheCom-petitiveEnterpriseInstitute(CEI)topushforcutting farm subsidies. EWG’s online FarmSubsidy Database is perhaps the most com-prehensivelistofgovernmentfarmsubsidiesandtheirrecipients.In2007thefive-yearfarmbill is up for reauthorization, and it will beinteresting to see whether a left-right coali-tionemergestofightthefarmsubsidylobby.Market-oriented scholars like Hudson Insti-tuteseniorfellowDennisAveryrefertoetha-nol as “deathanol” because they agree thatits widespread production may lead to mas-sive worldwide food scarcity.ConclusionIn2007itappearstheenvironmentalistmove-ment may be caught in a Catch-22 of its ownmaking.Theoldwarriorsagainstenergycon-sumptionarerunningupagainstanewbreedof environmentalists who look to high tech-nology. They endorse promising new tech-nologiessuchasplug-inhybridvehiclesthatoperate on both gasoline and electricity. Bytouting the benefits of hybrids, they arguethat gasoline consumption can be cut andAmerica will be less reliant on overseas oil.But if Americans switch to plug-in hybridvehicles, they will need more electricity, andif it doesn’t come from foreign oil then it willhavetocomefromdomesticsources--eitherhated fossil fuels, dreaded nuclear power, or“deathanol.”And there’s the rub.Reducing foreign energy dependency willinevitably force Americans to increase theircoal and natural gas-based electricity gen-eration, which in turn will increase CO2emis-sions unless there is a breakthrough in tech-nology. The feds can’t mandate technologi-cal innovation. The environmentalists don’twant nuclear-powered transportation. And,as much as greens yearn for it, our planes,trains and automobiles can’t be powered bywindmills.James Dellinger is Executive Director ofGreenWatch and EducationWatch at Capi-tal Research Center.Please rememberCapital ResearchCenter in yourwill andestate planning.Thank you foryour support.Terrence Scanlon,PresidentCapital Research Center’snext online radio show airsJanuary 16, 3:05 p.m.(Eastern time)at http://www.rightalk.com(replays follow at 5 minutes past thehour for the following 23 hours)OT
  6. 6. OrganizationTrends6 January 2007BrieflyNotedThe Federal Election Commission fined three 527 groups —Swift Boat Veterans and POWs for Truth, theMoveOn.org Voter Fund, and the League of Conservation Voters 527 and 527 II—a total of $629,500 forelectioneering in 2004. The FEC found that the veterans “expressly advocated” the defeat of presidential candi-date John Kerry in ads and direct mail, while the LCV advocated Kerry’s election and the defeat of PresidentGeorge W. Bush through voter canvassing. MoveOn made TV ads targeting Bush. If the 527 groups, whichmay receive unlimited contributions but are not allowed to advocate for candidates or coordinate activities withthem, wanted to become involved in the election campaign as advocates, they should have registered aspolitical action committees and filed the required disclosure statements, the FEC said December 13. “The lawis unconscionably vague,” Swift Boat founder Roy Hoffman reportedly said.After winning the Maryland governorship, Democrat Martin O’Malleyturned to fat-cat trial lawyer John P.Coale for a loan to cover a $500,000 campaign debt, the Washington Post reported. The half-million dollar debtappears to be a record for a Maryland political campaign. Coale, husband of Fox News anchor Greta VanSusteren, is the ambulance-chaser who filed vexatious lawsuits against the gun industry and who took millionsin fees from the $200 billion-plus national tobacco settlement of 1997. He was also the first U.S. lawyer to arrivein Bhopal, India, to scout for clients following the Union Carbide disaster of 1984. O’Malley is the guitar-playingpolitician who as mayor of Baltimore called President Bush a terrorist in February 2005 for proposing to reducefederal aid for cities.Incredibly, the Southern Poverty Law Center said it “probably” will include the Michigan State Universitychapter of the conservative group Young Americans for Freedom on its list of so-called hate groups. Such alisting would make YAF, which was founded in 1960 by M. Stanton Evans and William F. Buckley Jr., the firstuniversity-recognized hate group in the nation, Heidi Beirich, assistant director of the SPLC’s IntelligenceProject told the Lansing City Pulse. The SPLC, which maintains that race relations today are worse than in thedays of Jim Crow, was profiled in the November issue of Organization Trends.Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is working overtime to transform itself into a bastion of politically correct political andsocial causes, according to the National Legal and Policy Center. “Political correctness is nothing new incorporate America, but it is truly breathtaking how quickly Wal-Mart is becoming a tool of the left under CEO H.Lee Scott,” said NLPC President Peter Flaherty. Under Scott, Wal-Mart has mandated numerical quotas forthe hiring of minorities and women, placed Jesse Jackson associate Christopher Williams on its board, andis financially supporting gay rights groups advocating same-sex marriage. The company is also bullying its60,000 suppliers to adopt its environmental standards, a move even the Sierra Club has dismissed as ineffec-tive, according to a new NLPC report. Wal-Mart hired left-wing spin doctor Leslie Dach back in July and sincethen he has helped the company ramp up its cynically calculated capitulations to the left.Joe Kennedy, a former Massachusetts congressman and son of the late anti-communist Senator Robert F.Kennedy, is appearing on television commercials backing Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez, an ally ofIran, North Korea, and Cuba. Head of nonprofit Citizens Energy Corporation, a beaming Kennedy touts thebenefits of discounted home heating oil supplied by Chavez-controlled CITGO, saying the fuel comes “from ourfriends in Venezuela.”Capital Research Center President Terrence Scanlon signed a letter December 12 with 41 leaders of otherconservative groups urging President Bush to “publicly and forcefully repudiate proposals to increase taxes inany plan to reform Social Security.”