#IASEN Roundup: Ernst at Exxon Mobil Funder

Rep. Bruce Braley

Rep. Bruce Braley

As this posts, Joni Ernst is scheduled to be at the McDermott Building in Washington, D.C. for a fundraiser with the Exxon Mobil Political Action Committee and the American Petroleum Institute.

Yesterday, Bruce Braley issued the following statement:

RELEASE: Ernst Cozies Up to Big Oil Backers, Who Are Working to Undermine RFS & 75,000 Iowa Jobs

While Bruce Braley and a bipartisan coalition of Iowa officials are fighting to protect the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and the nearly 75,000 Iowa jobs it helps support, State Sen. Joni Ernst, who has repeatedly said she is “philosophically opposed” to the RFS, is headed to D.C. for a fundraiser tomorrow with big oil special interests who are working to gut the RFS and harm Iowa’s economy:

WHO-TV: Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst said Monday she didn’t see a problem in going to a campaign fundraiser sponsored by groups that don’t want to see preference given to renewable fuels, which are prevalent in ethanol-rich Iowa’s rural communities.Ernst is scheduled to attend the Wednesday fundraiser in Washington, D.C, that is sponsored by the political action committees for the American Petroleum Institute and Exxon Mobil.

Ernst, who has already been the beneficiary of nearly $3 million in outside spending and a maximum campaign contribution from the oil billionaire Koch brothers, will continue to see her anti-Iowa positions rewarded at tomorrow’s event that is hosted by Exxon Mobil, the American Petroleum Institute, and other special interests who want to see the RFS weakened and Iowa’s economy harmed. Exxon Mobil, which has worked against the bipartisan RFS, received an “F” from the Renewable Fuels Association, while the director of the API recently said of his organization’s efforts to gut the RFS: “If it can’t be changed this year, we’ll move into next year.”

Today, Braley for Iowa held a conference call with former Lt. Gov and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Patty Judge and Bruce Rohwer, a farmer from O’Brien County, criticizing Ernst for putting the special interests above Iowa.

“With the future of Iowa’s energy economy and nearly 75,000 Iowa jobs tied to renewable energy, Joni Ernst has clearly chosen to stand with big oil instead of with Iowa,” said Rohwer. “While Bruce Braley is working across the party divide and doing everything he can to protect Iowa’s renewable energy industry, Ernst’s philosophical opposition to the RFS is being rewarded this week in Washington by the very same groups—like Exxon Mobil and the American Petroleum Institute—who are actively working to destroy the Renewable Fuel Standard and threaten thousands of Iowa jobs. If the Koch brothers and other anti-Iowa big oil companies are trusting Joni Ernst with their money, it’s clear she cannot be trusted to protect the RFS and Iowa jobs.”

Last November, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a draft rule that weakens the RFS and gives an unfair advantage to big oil, while harming Iowa’s farmers and energy producers. While big oil has been forcefully lobbying to weaken the RFS, Braley has been a bipartisan champion for Iowa’s interests. Beyond taking his case directly to the President, Vice President and EPA Administrator, Braley has helped organize Iowans of all political affiliations to demonstrate the importance of the RFS to the nation’s economy and energy future.

Late last year, he was the only member of the Iowa U.S. House delegation to join Governor Terry Branstad at an EPA hearing where they spoke to the positive impact the RFS has on Iowa. In November 2013, Braley teamed up with Republican Rep. Steve King to host an event with Iowa State’s Bioeconomy Institute to explain to Congressional staff the importance of keeping the RFS at its current levels. At Braley’s request, Iowa consistently has had representation at Congressional hearings examining the future of the RFS. And early this year, he helped deliver 100,000 signatures to the EPA to keep the RFS “strong.”

In stark contrast, Joni Ernst has repeatedly voiced her “philosophical” opposition to the RFS and supported ending all energy subsidies.

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