Spoof Ad: Jerry Brown’s Frackwater Cologne

Sign your name to the right to send an urgent message directly to Governor Brown telling him:

California cannot afford to continue wasting water on fracking. It not only endangers our communities, but also our climate. With your drought declaration it’s clear the time is now: Stop fracking in California immediately.

The Dirty Energy Money Behind The Push To Frack California:

Download the full report here.


The oil and gas industry gives millions of dollars to California’s elected officials to ensure their interests are served in Sacramento. Governor Brown is one of these recipients, having accepted at least $2,014,570.22 from fossil fuel interests since his race for Attorney General in 2006.

As the public awakens to the dangers of fracking in California, the fossil fuel industry is spending as much money as it takes to protect their dirty interests. Billions of barrels of untapped oil are sitting in the Monterey Shale and Big Oil is pushing to make sure it all stays on the table.

State campaign finance laws prohibit any company or individual from contributing more than $27,200 per candidate, per election — but many of these companies have found loopholes that let them flood the system with their petro-dollars, making sure our elected leaders, and Governor Brown in particular, protect their interests.

The fossil fuel corporations and associated industries at the top of the dirty money pile include: Chevron, Occidental Petroleum, Southern California Edison, Valero Energy, Tesoro Corp, Plains Exploration & Production, Venoco, Conoco Phillips, and Aera Energy (owned jointly by Shell and ExxonMobil).

Oil Industry Already A Big Player In 2014 Cycle

Governor Brown is already filling up his campaign warchest for his 2014 re-election bid. Among the first companies to ‘max out’ and give as much money as legally possible were Occidental Petroleum, followed closely by Edison, and Chevron. There are still months until the primary and already Big Oil is making sure it will have the ear of the Governor during his next term.

  • Occidental has given $27,200, the maximum legally allowed.
  • Edison and Chevron have both given $27,200 TWICE, once for the primary election and another for the general election — a nice little loophole that lets them double their effective contribution limit.
  • Phillips 66, another oil company, has nearly maxed out with a $25,000 contribution.

Already, the running total for just these 4 companies stands at $161,000 for the 2014 election cycle.

Past Elections Covered In Petro-Dollars

This isn’t the first time Jerry Brown has been up for election, of course. Before being elected to his current term as governor in 2010, Brown was also elected as the Attorney General of California in 2006. During each of these races — and even during his ‘off’ years in-between, Big Oil has delivered piles of cash to pad his campaign funds.

  • Fossil fuel industry contributions in 2010 Governor’s race: $198,451.22.
  • Fossil fuel industry contributions in 2006 Attorney General’s race: $78,201.
  • During his ‘off-years’, fossil fuel industry interests still gave brown $27,500 in 2008 and $61,000 in 2012.

Key Brown Initiatives Are Big Money Backchannels

One way fossil fuel companies get around campaign contribution limits is by supporting their favorite elected officials in other, less obvious ways – like pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into their favorite ballot initiatives, giving generously to charities politicians are associated with, or donating $15,000 to the Governor’s Inaugural Committee. This ‘dark money’ adds a hefty amount to Governor Brown’s total dirty energy money haul, with industry interests writing large checks to some of the Governor’s pet projects.

Proposition 30

Proposition 30 was one of the Governor’s signature policy initiatives in 2012 and it was heavily funded by Big Oil. Not only did the fossil fuel industry buck the traditional business position on the proposition, they wrote MASSIVE checks to make sure it passed — and to make sure Brown knew who helped make it happen.

  • On this single ballot initiative, the fossil fuel industry contributed over a million dollars, $1,118,418 to be exact.
  • Occidental Petroleum, one of Governor Brown’s most consistent Big Oil supporters contributed $500,000 to the ballot measure campaign, one of the largest single contributions.
Brown’s Charter Schools

While Mayor of Oakland, Brown set up two charter schools that he often touts in public and continues to raise funds for: The Oakland School for the Arts and The Oakland Military Institute. Some of the largest checks these schools receive have come from Big Oil at Brown’s behest.

  • Fossil fuel industry interests have donated $355,000 to Brown’s two Oakland charter schools since 2006.
  • In 2013 alone, Occidental Petroleum gave The Oakland Military Institute $150,000 at Brown’s behest.

‘Big Oil Brown’ Or Climate Champ?

Governor Brown certainly strives to be seen as a climate champion and a responsible politician — and in many ways he has been. But when it comes to climate change and the energy infrastructure in the State of California, the only rational conclusion to be made about his support for increased oil production is that he is being influenced by an industry that only cares about their bottom line, not what’s best for Californians. It’s past time for Governor Brown to reject industry money, put an end to fracking, and protect our climate. Until then, the money trail speaks for itself.

SOURCES: The data used in this analysis came from the California Secretary of State’s Office, Governor Brown’s Form 460 campaign filings, The National Institute for Money in State Politics, the California Fair Political Practices Commission, and the Oil Change International State Dirty Energy Money database. The data has been further subdivided to include only fossil fuel companies, energy utilities with a significant fossil fuel dependency, and individuals identified as high-ranking employees of those companies. Data is up to date as of March 1, 2014.