POLITICS

Which ‘industry leaders’ will bankroll the Obama SuperPAC’s policy agenda?

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Timothy P. Carney

Obama’s campaign organization has evolved into a Super PAC called “Organizing for Action.” Although Obama is raising money for OFA, his White House isn’t really answering questions on where they’re getting their money.

Some media reports are helping us shed light on the structure of the group, and we can start to guess which corporations will be bankrolling this unofficial arm of the Obama administration. Here are the key passages from a report by the NY Times’ Mike McIntyre:

The 30-member board [expected to raise at least $500,000] will include a 10-person council made up of “leaders in industry” committed to supporting the group’s agenda. The organization is also creating a task force on policy, whose chairmen will be expected to raise at least $250,000 to finance advocacy work on specific issues, the memo said.

So, which industry leaders will want to bankroll and shape OFA’s policy agenda? Here’s a hint (emphasis is mine):

So far, Organizing for Action has gotten involved in the fight over gun control and immigration legislation, and in a conference call with fund-raisers on Tuesday, the group’s leaders said they expect to take on climate change issues later in the spring.

CLIMATE CHANGE

Let’s start with the easier one: Climate change. Team Obama has had many strong industry allies on pushing cap-and-trade schemes and other green-energy subsidies in the name of climate change.

Obama has few corporate allies closer than General Electric. GE was a founding member of the US Climate Action Partnership, a corporate lobby for cap-and-trade. It’s a leader in wind energy, heavily invested in green energy, and has invested in the past in a climate-credit generation and trading business. GE’s CEO Jeff Immelt is Obama’s jobs czar. In 2008, GEPAC gave $15,000 to the DNC (a de facto Obama contribution) with no offsetting contribution to the RNC. So, while GE-WH relations aren’t as cozy as they were four years ago, this industrial titan could be a natural member of OFA’s board.

Duke Energy is the new GE, arguably. The company — firmly behind all sorts of climate legislation — may have been the biggest donor to Obama’s reelection campaign.

Siemens is another Obama ally on green energy and climate issues. Notably, the company’s top lobbyist is an Obama administration alumus and Obama donor (before he registered to lobby, of course!).

Google is on Obama’s side on climate matters, and could be a player in GHG credits.

Warren Buffett is deeply invested in solar and wind, including GE. He’s a longtime Obama fundraiser.

IMMIGRATION

If the Obama administration wants to increase the flow of immigration, especially through guest-worker programs, there’s no end of companies willing to cut big checks to help Obama with this.

As my brother John explains at CNBC, basically everyone lobbying on immigration is lobbying for more immigration, which means a greater labor supply. Tyson Chicken, restaurants, farm corporations, hotels — they all want a more favorable supply/demand ratio. Particularly, they’d all love a guest-worker program.

GUN CONTROL

There isn’t a huge industry lobby for gun control, though there are some prominent billionaires interested in the issue. However, the administration has reached out to Wal-Mart in its effort to clamp down on private sales and drive buyers towards stores. Other potential allies: the companies that sell the technology for stamping individual bullets, safer gun safes.

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