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Jun-14-2011 12:01printcomments

U.S. Senate: Unusual Coalition of Interest Groups Combine to End Ethanol Subsidies

The subsidy repeal is opposed by corn growers and ethanol producers, pitting alternative energy interests and environmental policy groups against each other.

Ethanol subsidies

(BERKELEY, Calif. MapLight) - On Tuesday, June 14, 2011, the Senate is expected to vote on an amendment introduced by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) to repeal the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit, which subsidizes the production of ethanol.

On March 9, 2011, a coalition of organizations representing issues traditionally at odds with one another drafted a letter voicing their support for ending ethanol subsidies.

Included in the coalition are organizations such as the Sierra Club, Oxfam America, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the National Restaurant Association, and assorted meat, poultry and dairy producers.

The subsidy repeal is opposed by corn growers and ethanol producers, pitting alternative energy interests and environmental policy groups against each other. The amendment is identical to S. 871 - Ethanol Subsidy and Tariff Repeal Act, also introduced by Coburn.

  • Interest groups that support this bill gave 17 times as much ($21,903,228) as interest groups that oppose this bill ($1,261,285)
  • Supporting interest groups: Republican/Conservative, Restaurants & drinking establishments, Environmental policy, Food and kindred products manufacturing, Milk & dairy producers, Meat processing & products, Poultry & eggs, etc.
  • Opposing interest groups: Alternate energy production & services and Wheat, corn, soybeans and cash grain

Campaign contributions to Senators from interest groups in Support of the amendment can be found here.

Campaign contributions to Senators from interest groups in Opposition to the amendment can be found here.

Methodology: Includes reported contributions to congressional campaigns of Senators in office during the 112th U.S. Congress, from interest groups invested in the vote according to MapLight, January 1, 2005 - December 31, 2010. Contributions data source: Center for Responsive Politics,

A link to this data release can be found here.

MapLight reveals money's influence on politics.

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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joe June 15, 2011 11:54 am (Pacific time)

I support ending the subsidies because the ethanol industry is already established and I believe they'll do fine without the subsidies. And once Industrial Hemp can be used as a crop here in America, the ethanol business will be booming. Hemp produces ten times the amount of biomass of corn! Support the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2011 and support your local farmers.

joe June 15, 2011 11:54 am (Pacific time)

say no to fracking!

donald gotshalk June 14, 2011 5:30 pm (Pacific time)

The 400 billion annual ethanol subsidy is an embarrising problem. There is a bill before congress "the Pickens Plan" asks for only one billion a year for five years. The Pickens plan will lessen Oil imports by 50% from current levels. It would be a National Security victory and a substantial defeat to OPEC. This Senator Coburn is leading a group of Senators to defeat this legislation under the disguise of initiating a bill he know has no chance of passing. This group claims that no industry should be subsidised. The market alone should dictate and the government should not pick and choose which industries or sectors it will subsidize. The problem here is the number one job of every representative in our Congress is our National Security. Exporting clean, cheap natural gas that is cheaper and subsidising Ethanol and dirty Coal is embarrising. Guess who is supporting Senator Coburn and ilk?

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