Follow the Money: Keystone XL Pipeline

If we were taking a class on the impact of the 2014 midterm elections, it might be called Activism 101: Your vote matters.

Certainly, the scramble of recent Congressional action (namely Senate action) on the Keystone XL Pipeline proposal is evidence that elected officials took notice of millions of voters holding them accountable through the blunt force of the ballot box. With a Louisiana Senate seat hanging in the balance of a December 6th runoff election, Congress appears very eager to address the issue, although [mc_name name=’Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’L000550′ ] was unable to convince enough of her fellow Democrats to vote with her on the proposal on Tuesday.


This week’s Senate action is interesting as Senate Majority Leader [mc_name name=’Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000146′ ] had not allowed a clean up-or-down vote since 2008 despite high gas prices and a sluggish economy in recent years.  It’s hard not to be cynical from the outside looking in as the political gears finally churn in the halls of the Capitol to produce bicameral legislative action on a proposal that is favored by upwards of 65% of those surveyed according to national polls.

Of course, the Democrats’ lack of votes in the Senate and President Obama’s lack of support is a result of the influence of liberal environmental groups. Two groups holding particular sway are the World Wildlife Fund and the Environmental Defense Fund.  They have actively engaged in lobbying against Keystone XL and have joined with 56 other environmental groups in signing a letter to Secretary of State [mc_name name=’Sen. John Kerry (D-MA)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’K000148′ ] urging him to “[r]eject any new or expanded infrastructure for tar sands oil, starting with the Keystone XL pipeline.”  This letter claimed that the the pipeline “is not in the national interest” due to the new amounts of carbon that would be burned and would “extend our dangerous addiction to fossil fuels…”

It’s not surprising that these groups in their zeal to prevent any further development of fossil fuel-based energy would strive to stand in the way of an estimated 700,000 barrels of oil per day and 85,000 jobs created. However, voters might be shocked to learn which corporate entities partner with these groups under the guise of “environmental protection.”


Bank of America, Barnes and Noble, Coca-Cola, CVS, Disney, Hilton, Gap, Hewlitt-Packard, Nabisco and Subway are all listed as corporate partners with the World Wildlife Fund having made substantial donations to the organization. Likewise, Caterpillar, Starbucks, Walmart, McDonald’s and AT&T have all engaged in partnerships with the Environmental Defense Fund, the same organization that ran television ads and organized voter turnout efforts to support Democrat Senate candidates in Iowa, Colorado and North Carolina in 2014.

To be fair, many of those companies listed above are also members of the Business Roundtable, the pro-business organization that “strongly endorse(d)” the approval of the Keystone XL project just last week.

So why does it seem that large corporations are playing both sides of the fence on this issue? In part, because conservatives have not educated themselves on the final destination of their dollars  Liberals have a corner on the hyperbolic protest and false outrage market because they know corporations are responsive. As a result, companies are funding both pro-business agendas to support their own financial interests, and left-wing environmental groups because of outside pressure.

However, that should also prove that those same corporations will listen to pressure from customers who would rather see businesses promoting policies that encourage economic growth. Perhaps the next class for conservatives to take is Activism 102: Making your 2nd vote matter. Large corporations are all too willing to cozy up with liberal groups intent on pushing an agenda that stifles economic growth and adversely affects the lower and middle classes mostly because our dollars are not held accountable by the consumers.


Conservatives do business with these companies every day, yet we give them a free pass on partnerships with an, ultimately, destructive agenda. Washington is paying attention to the way Americans voted on November 4th, it’s time that we make corporations pay attention to how we vote every day.

Chris Walker is the Executive Director of 2nd Vote, a conservative shopper app. To find out more, download the free app or visit



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