Every Day is Christmas When You’re an Ethanol Producer

Our good friend Tim Carney has an excellent op-ed today in the Examiner on who’s getting screwed and who’s getting rich off of the energy legislation that’s currently making its way through Congress:

While raising the CAFE [Corporate Average Fuel Economy] requirements would be a stick in the eye of the Big Three (whose political action committees [PACs] in 2006 gave about $1.3 million to federal candidates), it would clearly be a gift to the ethanol industry, whose strong connections to lawmakers are legendary. Ethanol, an alcohol fuel made from grain, usually corn, benefits from special tax breaks, protective tariffs, and federal and state handouts, as well as government mandates.

In the 2006 election cycle, the PAC for Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), the nation’s top ethanol maker, gave $120,000 to federal candidates while fellow agribusiness giant Cargill, No. 2 in ethanol, gave $223,000 to House and Senate candidates.

Also pulling for ethanol — and thus benefiting from stricter CAFE standards — is Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street investment firm that has invested $30 million in a Canadian ethanol maker.

Silicon Valley billionaire Vinod Khosla, who recently penned a New York Times op-ed along with former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., calling for even more ethanol mandates, is also heavily invested in ethanol.

Yes, the automakers see their profits and their business models at risk in the debate over CAFE, but, as in every Washington battle over increasing regulation, there’s somebody standing nearby ready to profit on both sides.

Read the whole thing here.