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Wind lobby increases giving to GOP

The wind industry’s trade group continued to give more to Republican candidates during the most recent quarter than it did in the same period four years ago, even as it largely sides with Democrats, new Federal Election Commission filings show.

The American Wind Energy Association’s PAC doled out more than $55,000 to federal candidates in the second quarter of 2012, up from just $17,000 in the same period of 2008.

Of the 2012 money, 38 percent went to Republican candidates while 62 percent went to Democrats. That’s down significantly from the first quarter of 2012, when more than 60 percent of WindPAC’s giving went to GOP candidates and parties, but up from the second quarter of 2008, when WindPAC sent just 24 percent of its donations to Republicans.

Many of those Republicans are from wind states and are seen as friendly to extending the wind production tax credit, a key provision that expires at the end of this year. Freshman Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), for example, landed $5,000, while Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) took in $5,500.

WindPAC also gave to key members of House leadership and committee chairmen, including Majority Leader Eric Cantor ($2,500), Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton ($1,000) and Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp ($2,500).

The organization is betting equally on the candidates running to replace the retiring Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), giving $1,000 each to Democratic candidate Brad Bookout and Republican candidate Luke Messer.

Among Democrats, big winners include Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland ($5,000), Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri ($2,500), Virginia Senate candidate Tim Kaine ($2,500), Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon ($4,908.60, part of that in kind) and Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), who got $5,000. Udall has taken to giving daily floor speeches when the Senate is in session pushing for extension of the wind PTC.

AWEA CEO Denise Bode also remained active this quarter, giving $2,500 to Republicans Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah and $2,000 to Rep. Jack Kingston of Georgia.

The Solar Energy Industries Association’s PAC, meanwhile, was less active, disbursing just $8,500. Nearly all of that – $7,500 – went to eight Democrats.

The remaining $1,000 went to Rep. Dan Benishek (R-Mich.).