Karen Buchwald Wright

"so-called green jobs"
Chairman, CEO and President of the Ariel Corporation

Wright is the CEO of Ariel Corporation (Mount Vernon, Ohio), the world's largest manufacturer of certain compressors used to extract, transport, store, and distribute natural gas.

The increase in natural gas "fracking" in Ohio's Utica shale region has been a boon to Ariel's business along with increased drilling in Texas, Canada and elsewhere. 


Wright is a big political spender. She gave $319,950 in the 2011-12 federal election cycle to campaigns and Super PACs, including $100,000 to Karl Rove's American Crossroads Super PAC.  Wright hosted a town hall meeting with Mitt Romney during his 2012 campaign at the company's Mount Vernon, Ohio factory.

Wright also spoke during a 2010 "Rally for Jobs" event organized by Koch brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity in 2010 to promote the oil industry shortly after BP's Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig exploded, killing 11 workers.

Wright attended the Koch brothers' secret June 2010 retreat in Aspen, CO, as well as the Kochs' January 2014 retreat outside Palm Springs, CA.


Wright has slammed warnings about global warming as "questionable science" and has spoken against "so-called green jobs," which she says are "dubious" and "phony."

Foster Friess

Founder and Chairman of Friess Associates LLC

Friess was a major political backer of Rick Santorum's Red White & Blue Fund in 2012, providing $2.1 million, before shifting his support to Romney.. 


The Koch brothers recognized Friess at the their 2011 retreat for donating over $1 million to their politicalo activities.

Friess was a founding donor to Tucker Carlson's The Daily Caller, providing $3 million.





"If I had my way, you could give as much money to candidates as you wanted without all these superficial, phony, around the back door deals," he said about campaign finance disclosure rules. "But you have to be reported and disclosed. It is a shame."

"You know, back in my days, they used Bayer aspirin for contraception. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn't that costly."

Corbin Robertson Jr.

CEO of GP Natural Resource Partners, Quintana Minerals

Robertson serves on the boards of the American Petroleum Institute and the national Petroleum Council.  He used his large inherited oil fortune to start a coal investment and trading business. Robertson buys land where there are coal reserves, leases it to other mining companies, and collects royalties from the coal mined. By 2003 Robertson had amassed 21 billion toins of unmined coal reserves.




Robertson is a funder and director of CO2 is Green -- a group that claims that the more CO2 in the atmosphere, the better.

He attended the Koch Brothers' June 2010 secret conservative supporters retreat in Aspen Colorado.

Robertson spent at least $200,000 during the 2011-2012 federal election cycle.

Trevor Rees-Jones

Founder and Chairman of Chief Oil & Gas

Dallas-based Rees-Jones is a fracking pioneer and exploratory driller.

In 2014 he was listed # 277 on Forbes' list of richest billionaires.

"When it comes to business he plays for blood," one of his former financial backers said.




Chief Oil & Gas is one of the largest fracking companies in Pennsylvania. In 2010, Rees-Jones gave Tom Corbett a $50,000 contribution for his campaign for governor of Pennsylvania. After he won, Corbett proposed a gas extraction "impact fee" that is just one-fifth of rates typically paid by fracking companies in most states. Corbett also tried to soften opposition to fracking by forming a Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, whose members included Terry Bossert, a Chief government affairs executive.

During the 2011-2012 election cycle, Rees-Jones gave over $600,000 in state contributions and another $300,000 in federal contributions. But Rees-Jones' biggest donations have been to Karl Rove's American Crossroads super PAC, including $2 million during the 2010 cycle.

Living in an $11 million mansion, Rees-Jones told the Dallas business lifestyle magazine D CEO that he was "riding at a pretty high altitude."  His foundation also gave $1.2 million in 2012 to construct energy-efficient affordable housing in West Dallas.  Meanwhile, residents near his company's fracking operations in Pennsylvania say their drinking water is polluted and their property values are ruined.


Gary Chouest

CEO and President of Edison Chouest Offshore

Edison Chouest Offshore is a Louisiana-based company that builds ships used for oil exploration, oil rig construction and servicing, oil spill response and other industrial uses. 



Chouest is a major political donor, maxing out his yearly federal contributions by giving mostly to senators and representatives from Louisiana and Alaska. 

Chouest has also contributed to key congressional committee members of both parties, including Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings, the former chairman of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, which oversees federal ship building contracts.

Edison Chouest Offshore received federal contracts (almost exclusively from the Navy) worth over $100 million in 2012 alone, and 278 contracts worth over $445 million since 2000. (See USASpending.gov) 

Chouest's strategically targeted giving strategy in the 2007-2008 election cycle also resulted in a $132,500 contribution to Bobby Jindal's campaign for Governor of Louisiana. Shortly after Jindal was elected, one of the first state contracts for economic development went to Edison Chouest to help build a new shipyard.

Christopher Cline

Lead Investor, Foresight Energy LLC (Coal)

Cline was described by Bloomberg as the "New King Coal" in 2010, for making a fortune off investments in Illinois coal mines. 

He is buying locomotives, building a port on the Ohio River and designing his own ships to export coal abroad. 

Cline also owns The Cline Group, a parent company to Hillsboro Energy and Gogebic Taconite.  


In 2013, Foresight proposed a giant open-pit taconite (a type of iron ore) mine that would drain heavy metals and other pollutants into the Great Lakes, just six miles from territory owned by the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa Indian Tribe. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed a bill that would streamline the mine permitting process in 2013.  Republican State Senator Dale Schultz, who voted against the bill, said that, if his fellow Republican Senators "understood biology" they wouldn't have voted for the bill.

Cline's company – Foresight – gave $500,000 during the 2011-2012 election cycle, primarily to state-level campaigns and candidates.

Cline's friend Sidney Green died in 2002 when the roof collapsed in one of Cline's mines. Cline was fined $45,500. 

Cline refers to climate denier Christopher Monckton as the most knowledgeable expert he knows on global warming.



"We in the industry probably do the worst job in the world getting out the story of the good lives we're helping people live," Cline says. "Changing that is certainly a big interest of mine."

Although Cline does not deny that climate change is real, Bloomberg reported that he was so annoyed that his children's teachers aired Al Gore's film "An Inconvenient Truth" in class that he asked them to distribute literature showing that climate change may be caused by clusters of sunspots or the Earth wobbling on its axis

Cline on Massey Energy's Don Blankenship: "Don thinks his convictions are morally correct and follows them...In some ways, people should admire it." 



Robert Rowling

Founder of TRT Holdings (owners of Tana Exploration Co.)

Rowling made $476.5 million by selling his father's company, Tana Oil and Gas, to Texaco in 1989. Soon after, he founded TRT Holdings, a private holding company that owns Omni Hotels, Gold's Gym International,  and Tana Exploration Co. (a Texas-based oil and gas company), along with other companies and investments, including "a fifth of downtown Corpus Christi."  


Tana Exploration was one of many companies that received environmental-impact-study waivers from the Interior Department's Mineral Management Services for Gulf of Mexico drilling projects — after BP’s Deepwater Horizon platform exploded in April, 2010.  

Tana is among the companies that received the most Gulf of Mexico drilling permits in the first half of 2013, according to Bloomberg.

In the 2011-2012 election cycle Rowling contributed over $6 million to federal candidates and Super PACs, in addition to over $300,000 to state politicians. Rowling gave $3.5 million dollars to American Crossroads, the ultra-conservative super PAC run by Karl Rove.  TRT Holdings (the company) gave another $2.5 million to American Crossroads.

In 2006, Tana was fined $165,000 after a leak resulted when safety valves were improperly bypassed.

Curtis W. Mewbourne

Founder and CEO of Mewbourne Oil Company

Mewbourne Oil Company is one of the most active oil and gas companies in the Anadarko (OK) and Permian (TX) basins.



Curtis Mewbourne is a big proponent of fracking, and his company uses the process regularly in all 14 of its drilling rigs.

In the 2012 election cycle Mewbourne Oil gave over $700,000 to conservative candidates, PACs and parties. Mewbourne himself gave another $316,299 in federal contributions and $830,000 in state contributions during the same election cycle.

Mewbourne's biggest state contribution to an individual in 2011-2012 was $100,000 to Greg Abbot, the Attorney General of Texas, who once claimed that climate scientists are "colluding and scheming" activists who manipulate their findings to "advance what they want the science to be."

Mewbourne also gave $100,000 to Barry Smitherman's campaign for Texas attorney general. In a November 2013 email to a fellow Republican, Smitherman, the chair of the Texas Railroad Commission (which regulates the oil and gas industry in Texas), once wrote: "I have been battling this global warming hoax for 6 years now. The earth is not warming..." 

James C. Flores

CEO and President of Freeport-McMoRan Oil & Gas

Flores is a board member of Vulcan Energy Corp., McMoRan Exploration, America's Natural Gas Alliance, and a member of the Natural Petroleum Council.

Flores was chairman and CEO of Plains Exploration & Production Company (PXP) before it was acquired by Freeport-McMoRan in 2013.  

Flores was paid $3,065,985 in 2013. 


While Flores was the CEO of PXP, the company paid company board member Dr. Charles "Chip" Groat $400,000, the same year that Groat conducted a fracking impact study for the University of Texas Austin's Energy Institute. The region Groat studied was being actively drilled by the company.   In early 2012, Groat made headlines when he claimed there was no proof linking fracking and groundwater contamination.

During the 2011-2012 election cycle Flores made over $350,000 in federal contributions, including over $60,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee. 

Jeffery Hildebrand

Founder, chairman, and CEO of Hilcorp Energy

Hilcorp's business is oil and gas exploration and development, including fracking operations in the Marcellus and Utica shale regions.


Hilcorp has circumvented landowners' resistance to fracking in Pennsylvania through a legal strategy called "forced pooling," which forces those holding out to lease their land to join others that have given their consent.

Ohio authorities shut down one of Hilcorp's fracking operations in March, 2014 after it was linked to magnitude 2.6 and 3.0 earthquakes.

Hildebrand sold his company's stake in the Eagle Ford (TX) shale play to Marathon Oil for $1.4 billion in 2011, using the money to invest in the Cook Inlet, Alaska oil fields. In an apparent rush to profit from its new investments, the company soon ran afoul of the law, later paying a $115,000 civil penalty for failing to notify the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission about changes to its drilling plans that were not in its permit. "The aggressiveness with which Hilcorp is moving forward with operations appears to be contributing to regulatory compliance issues," the commissions said in its 4/10/13 order.  Meanwhile, fishermen concerned about decreasing salmon stock due to "the loss and degradation of freshwater habitat" accused the state's Department of Fish and Game of illegally giving the company permits to fill a critical habitat area called Redoubt Bay as part of its oil storage operations.

In 2012 EPA fined Hilcorp $26,100 for "failing to address secondary containment for spilled gasoline and collection of oil discharges from its Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana offshore drilling operations.

During the 2011-2012 election cycle, Hildebrand gave nearly $700,000 to federal candidates and super PACs, including a $450,000 contribution to Mitt Romney's Restore Our Future super PAC. He was also a big supporter of Texas Gov. Rick Perry's presidential campaign.