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The chemical industry’s successful campaign to prevent Congress from strengthening the Toxic Substances Control Act," which has not been updated since it was passed in 1976, has been accompanied by a growing surge in political expenditures. From 2005 through September 2012, the industry gave $39 million to candidates for federal office, and from 2005 through June 2012 it spent $333 million on lobbying at the federal level. Since December 2011, the chemical industry has also spent at least $2.8 million on political advertising in at least nineteen different campaigns. These three avenues of influence--campaign contributions, lobbying expenditures, and political advertising--have played an important part in the industry’s campaign to convince lawmakers and voters that the environmental and public health benefits of strengthening TSCA and other regulations would be outweighed by economic costs.
In 2010, the chemical industry gained a powerful new avenue of influence when the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United threw out a century-old ban on corporations and unions spending money on electioneering. Since then chemical companies and a few very wealthy chemical executives have contributed more then $23 million to Super PACs and other outside groups spending money on the 2012 elections.
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