Green groups seeking to milk the Washington cash cow

The Boston Globe has an interesting article on how green groups are coming together to work Washington. Gone are the days of innocent flower children drinking Boone's Farm jugs of fruity wine. Now, it's the hiring of high powered lobbyists more accustomed to gourmet food and French wine.

Stonyfield Farm is slapping its familiar cow logo on more than just containers of yogurt these days. The New Hampshire-based organic food maker is one of more than 50 local companies to lend its corporate name to a political lobbying campaign aimed at persuading Congress to support climate and energy legislation on Capitol Hill.

The green-friendly businesses - including many young tech companies not yet household names - are the regional face of a multimillion dollar lobbying effort aimed at key senators across the country. Their effort is backed by some of the world's most recognizable consumer brands and Fortune 500 companies, and guided by experienced political hands with deep connections to the Obama and Clinton administrations.

The TV, radio, and print campaign, bolstered by in-person jawboning of legislators, demonstrates the political reach of green-technology and alternative energy companies, which have progressed from the cluttered basements of inventors and entrepreneurs into an emerging political force seeking to apply pressure at the highest levels of government.

Hence, milking the cow is an apt metaphor.

The column quotes a political operative who views this ploy by green groups and alternative energy outfits as a way to capitalize on the climate change legislation being pushed by Democrats. One target is newly minted Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts who, so far, seems to be resisting the push to sign onto cap and tax, despite the airing of commercials in Massachusetts painting a big target on his back. One green energy promoter admits they are pushing the legislation to boost their own bottom line. I guess that bit of truth in advertising will not end up in the commercials.

The genesis of this coalition? Lo and behold-the Obama presidential campaign.

The upstart lobbying effort is driven in part by company chief executives, technology professionals, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists. Their networking group evolved in early 2009 out of a constituency of green businesses that worked to elect President Obama, according to Tim Greeff, political director for the Clean Economy Network.

Laughably, the group poses as being non-partisan but it led by the Californian chairman of John Edwards campaign; its other leaders include an adviser to the Michael Dukakis who was appointed by Bill Clinton to head the New England region for the Environmental Protection Agency.

So in other words, it is a well-financed group of Democrats seeking to elect other Democrats who will pass legislation that will shower green dollars into their bank accounts. But all under the self-righteous preening of doing so for the good of Mother Earth and the rest of us benighted souls who don't know how to work the Washington system as well as they do.

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