Joe Manchin’s 'out-of-state' contributions 'dwarfed'- his West Virginia contributions: report

Joe Manchin’s 'out-of-state' contributions 'dwarfed'- his West Virginia contributions: report

On October 15, the Charleston Gazette-Mail in West Virginia published an op-ed by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who argued that many of the things in the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Act of 2021 would be great for West Virginia residents — from health care and child care programs to "fighting climate change." Centrist Sen. Joe Manchin is responding that Sanders is an "out of stater" who doesn't understand West Virginia's needs. However, the Gazette-Mail's Mike Tony is reporting that "a specific category of out-of-staters accounted for more than ten times as much in Manchin campaign contributions than in-state sources did from July 1 through September 30."

Tony explains, "Employees and political action committees for out-of-state oil and gas companies — most of which are based in Texas — dwarfed contributions from in-state individuals and political action committees by more than tenfold, according to the senator's newly filed quarterly campaign finance report."

Tony notes that Manchin's campaign committee, Manchin for West Virginia, "reported drawing just under $1.6 million in contributions in the quarter, leaving it with $5.38 million in cash on hand" — adding that "more than a quarter of that roughly $1.6 million came from the oil and gas industry. Just over $30,000 came from individuals and political action committees in West Virginia."

Manchin, along with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona — another very centrist Democrat — has made it clear that he believes the Build Back Better Act's $3.5 trillion price tag is too high. If the bill, in some form, ultimately passes in the Senate, it will likely be a much smaller package than the one that Sanders, a self-described "democratic socialist," is hoping for.

Manchin has been a staunch defender of fossil fuels, while Sanders and his Democratic ally, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York City, have been calling for an aggressive expansion of green energy and warning about the dangers of climate change.

Tony reports, "Manchin has drawn intense scrutiny from climate advocates for his pushback against what they say is the most critical measure in the budget bill to address the climate crisis. That's the Clean Electricity Performance Program, a $150 billion program that would authorize grants for electricity providers that increase clean electricity use by 4% or more annually from 2023 through 2030 and penalties for those that don't."

Manchin and Sanders, although both part of President Joe Biden's broad coalition, come from two very different states. Vermont is a deep blue state with a moderate Republican governor, Phil Scott, who endorsed Biden in the 2020 election; West Virginia is a deep red Appalachian state. And Manchin has often described himself as West Virginia-centric. But as Tony reports, he has received plenty of out-of-state contributions.

Tony observes, "Many of the political action committees for the nation's most prominent electric and gas utilities contributed to Manchin's campaign committee, including Duke Energy Corp. ($5,000), Dominion Energy Inc. ($2500) and Pacific Gas and Electric Corp. ($1000). The political action committee for American Electric Power, whose subsidiary, Appalachian Power, has 1 million customers in West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee — as AEP Appalachian Power in the latter state — contributed $2500 to Manchin's campaign."

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