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Anorak | Politicians are just too damn cheap to bribe, hire and lobby

Politicians are just too damn cheap to bribe, hire and lobby

by | 4th, September 2013

A LITTLE story from across the pond explaining why people bother to bribe and lobby politicians (to the extent that there is actually and difference between the two acts).

So, there’s one of these nutty green things that petrol refineries have to do over there, to blend ethanol into the petrol. And they’ve got to blend a certain amount in: if they don’t they’ve got to go buy a permit for not having blended it in. A bit like the carbon emission permits we’ve got over here. However, there’s not many of those permits for not blending available and they’re getting very expensive.

At which point we find out that one refinery, just the one mind, has been allowed to not have to buy permits and also not blend the ethanol in.

So it was more than a little curious that the EPA, as part of its rule, announced it was exempting just one mystery refinery (out of 143) from this year’s mandate. The dispensation amounts to a significant financial favor to one lucky player, as I wrote in the Journal on Friday. Further reporting has revealed that the refinery is Alon USA Energy’s Krotz Springs facility in Louisiana. There’s reason to wonder why Krotz Springs alone got a deal.

So, let us wonder!

Alon earlier this month reported a big hit to its second-quarter earnings, partly due to what it estimates this year will be $20 million in ethanol-credit expenses.

Ooooh, and it’s a valuable thing to wonder about too! So, what happened?

So what’s so special about Alon? If nothing else, it appears to understand how Washington works. Lobbying disclosure records show Alon paid $60,000 in the second quarter of 2013 to the Manatt, Phelps & Phillips firm. This was the same quarter when Alon filed for its exemption. The records show that Manatt lobbied in the House and in the Senate for Alon on the sole issue of “renewable fuel standards.” Alon didn’t report any appreciable lobbying expenses for the year preceding the quarter. The records also did not turn up similar lobbying efforts by other refineries applying for an exemption.

And that’s all she wrote folks. All of which shows is that politicians are just too damn cheap. Imagine flogging off $20 million’s worth of law for only $60,000? What sort of idiot sells anything that cheap?

Well, obviously, politicians do.

I dunno, maybe we should have them up there being corrupt in Congress rather than out here in the real world where they might do some real harm?



Posted: 4th, September 2013 | In: Money, Politicians Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink