Organized people won a big victory over organized money today as President Obama announced he is rejecting the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline.
Analysis from Maplight, a website that tracks the relationships between political spending and policymaking, showed that oil and gas interests gave an average of 10 times more money to senators who voted to approve the pipeline than to its opponents.
In Congress, the money paid dividends, trumping the legitimate environmental concerns about the pipeline that were raised by a determined band of activists; majorities in both the House and Senate ignored those arguments and repeatedly backed the pipeline. President Obama’s action today is a triumph for those who refused to let their voices be drowned out, proof that aroused and organized citizens, armed with facts, can still make a difference.
The sad fact however, is that victories like this are all too rare and that the paid speech of corporations, trade groups and other special interests regularly shouts down the voices of anyone who get in their way. President Obama could take a big step toward changing that by issuing an executive order requiring government contractors to disclose their political spending. Tell him to act -- today.
Office: Common Cause National
Issues: Money in Politics