Defend democracy in the South.

campaign contributions

INSTITUTE INDEX: Rick Perry's oily plans for an authoritarian America

January 6, 2022 - A text sent to the Trump White House the day after the 2020 election outlining a strategy to have the Supreme Court decide the outcome of the presidential race reportedly came from the phone of former Energy Secretary and Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Championing the election's overthrow didn't dim Perry's job prospects, though: He resigned his Trump administration post that December and the following month became a director for the general partner of Energy Transfer, the Dallas-based pipeline company led by billionaire Trump backer and longtime Perry associate Kelcy Warren, whose interests Perry profitably championed in Washington.

INSTITUTE INDEX: How Build Back Better would transform dirty rural electric systems

December 1, 2021 - Born of the New Deal's anti-poverty initiatives, rural electric cooperatives today serve 42 million Americans, most in the South, Midwest, and Great Plains. They still depend heavily on coal, but the $1.8 trillion spending bill passed by the House has a provision giving billions of dollars to speed their transition to renewables. Will it survive corporate Democrats' obstructionism in the Senate?

INSTITUTE INDEX: An opening for change at the beleaguered U.S. Postal Service

November 19, 2021 - The term of Ron Bloom, chair of the U.S. Postal Service's Board of Governors, ends on Dec. 8, and hundreds of public-interest organizations are urging President Biden to replace him. They object to his support for Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Trump appointee embroiled in numerous controversies over service cuts, financial conflicts of interest, wage theft, and a pattern of questionable campaign contributions at his former North Carolina-based logistics company.

INSTITUTE INDEX: How Entergy thwarted energy resilience in Louisiana

September 10, 2021 - Hurricane Ida's devastation of Louisiana's electric grid and the deadly power outages that resulted show the risk that highly centralized generation systems present in an era of increasingly destructive climate change-driven weather events. Yet Entergy — a Fortune 500 company that's the main power provider for the hard-hit southeastern part of the state, including New Orleans — has fought plans to move toward cleaner community-based generation. Will Ida mark a turning point?

INSTITUTE INDEX: Democratic senator from Virginia blocking key pro-union bill

April 29, 2021 - Three Democratic members of the evenly divided U.S. Senate have so far refused to sign on to the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, legislation endorsed by President Biden that would provide stronger protections for workers trying to form a union. Among the naysayers is Mark Warner of Virginia, the Senate's second-richest member and a venture capitalist with a nine-figure estimated net worth.

INSTITUTE INDEX: Corporations' political money disconnect on transgender rights

April 9, 2021 - A growing number of companies are publicly condemning discrimination against transgender people and taking steps to support trans employees. But some of the same businesses are also funding Southern politicians promoting policies harmful to the transgender community. One standout is AT&T, the telecom giant headquartered in Dallas — also the top corporate contributor to state lawmakers seeking to restrict voting rights.

INSTITUTE INDEX: Who's funding the Senate's Sedition Caucus?

January 11, 2021 - The legal, real estate, investment, and oil and gas industries are among those that have contributed the most to the U.S. senators who were part of the effort to overturn the outcome of the presidential election. Among the companies that back spending groups which in turn have supported the Senate's election deniers are Altria Group, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Noble Energy, and Walt Disney. There's growing pressure on companies to reconsider their giving.