Campaign finance forms filed earlier this month with the IRS detail how several large investor-owned utility companies made substantial contributions to both the Republican and Democratic Governors Associations, as well as the Republican Attorneys General Association, in the days leading up to and following the 2018 election.

Utilities contributed over $1.5 million during the October 18 – November 26 reporting period.

The industry donated a total of $10.3 million to certain 527 political organizations this election cycle.

As 527 political organizations, the Republican Governors Association, Republican Attorneys General Association, Republican State Leadership Committee, Democratic Governors Association, Democratic Attorneys General Association, and Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee can accept unlimited donations from corporations or individuals but must file periodic financial reports with the IRS.

The Energy and Policy Institute has analyzed reports filed from 2008 through November 2018. View the full data here

Republican and Democratic Governors Associations

FirstEnergy Solutions Corporation’s $500,000 contribution to RGA on 10/11/2018
  • After mostly staying quiet with donations to the DGA this election cycle, Duke Energy, NextEra Energy, and American Electric Power each contributed vast amounts of money near or after election day. NextEra contributed $50,000 on October 18 and followed that contribution with a $400,000 donation the next day. Duke Energy supplied $110,000 on November 1. Meanwhile, American Electric Power sent $50,000 to the DGA on November 13. 
  • DTE Energy donated $50,000 on October 2, and board member James Nicholson contributed an additional $25,000 on October 23. The Michigan-based utility company contributed a total of $150,000 to the RGA this cycle but did not provide any money to the DGA.
  • Vistra Energy contributed $25,000 on October 29. The Texas-based company, which completed its merger with Dynegy this year, contributed a total of $75,000 to both RGA and the DGA this cycle. 
  • Dominion contributed $25,000 on November 1 to the RGA, which brought its total this cycle to $135,540. It contributed $175,000 to the DGA, including $100,000 in 2018 alone – its largest donation to the DGA since 2014. The increase comes at a time when Democrat Ralph Northam completes his first year in office after winning in the Virginia gubernatorial election in November 2017.
  • Alliant Energy sent two checks the RGA this reporting period: $25,000 on October 1 and $15,000 on November 9. This brought the utility’s total contributions to the RGA to $100,000. It did not contribute to the DGA.
  • The Edison Electric Institute, Indiana-based Vectren Corporation, Southern Company, and NRG Energy all provided several hundred dollars days before the election to the RGA, which slightly increased their cumulative totals to the organization this campaign cycle.

Republican and Democratic Attorneys General Associations

  • NextEra Energy Resources contributed $250,000 on October 9 and then an additional $150,000 on October 31 to RAGA. As an apparent hedge, the utility also sent $100,000 on November 1 to DAGA. The corporation contributed $525,855 to RAGA this election cycle compared to $150,450 to DAGA.
NextEra Energy Resources $250,000 contribution to RAGA on 10/9/2018
  • Both FirstEnergy Corporation and Georgia Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company, donated $25,000 on October 17 to RAGA. 
  • Southern Company contributed $205,250 to RAGA and $15,000 to DAGA this cycle.
  • In total, FirstEnergy contributed $50,000 to RAGA this $0 to DAGA.

Republican State Leadership Committee and Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee

  • The RSLC reported a Dominion $40,000 contribution on November 8. The utility contributed a total of $90,325 to the RSLC this cycle and $0 to the DLCC.
Dominion Energy Services $40,000 contribution to the RSLC on 11/08/2018
  • Alliant Energy contributed $20,000 on November 13 to the DLCC and $10,000 to the RSLC on November 26. The Wisconsin-based utility with ratepayers also in Iowa contributed $81,486 this cycle to the RSLC and $45,350 to the DLCC.
  • Puget Sound Energy contributed an additional $10,000 on November 12 to the RSLC, which brought their total to $40,000 this cycle. It did not contribute to the DLCC.
  • NextEra, Vistra, and Xcel Energy each added to their total contributions to the RSLC by writing several hundred dollar checks in October. 
  • NextEra contributed a total of $297,907 to the RSLC and $50,000 to DLCC. Xcel donated $50,677 to the RSLC and $55,250 to the DLCC. Vistra sent $48,286 to the RSLC and $36,500 to the DLCC.

Posted by Matt Kasper

Matt Kasper is the Research Director at the Energy & Policy Institute. He focuses on defending policies that further the development of clean energy sources. He also frequently focuses on the companies and their front groups that obstruct policy solutions to global warming. Before joining the Energy & Policy Institute, Matt was a research assistant at the Center for American Progress where he worked on various state and local policy issues, including renewable energy standards. His work has appeared in The Guardian, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other outlets.