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Forum Post: Builder of tug that failed Shell's Kulluk has moneyed Alaska ties

Posted 5 years ago on Jan. 6, 2013, 8:07 p.m. EST by GirlFriday (17435)
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Powerful Edison Chouest Offshore, a large and dominant shipbuilding company on the nation's Gulf coast, has become increasingly influential in Alaska, too. It’s built specially designed tugs worth hundreds of millions of dollars in support of Royal Dutch Shell's Arctic drilling program in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas.

In support of its ambitions, the company has sunk big money into politics, too, with sizeable campaign donations to politicians able to influence marine policy, defense and shipping matters – including Alaska’s three congressmen.

Contributing to Alaska congressmen Since 2010, family members of the company with humble beginnings that is now believed to be worth billions, have spent at least $170,000 in campaign donations to Alaska's Congressional delegation.

• U.S. Sen. Mark Begich has already landed more than $30,000 from Chouest for his 2014 re-election bid.

• Sen. Lisa Murkowski landed $40,800 from the company for her 2010 re-election efforts.

• Rep. Don Young pulled in $32,000 during the same election cycle – and for 2012, the family supported him with $66,400 in donations.

Those are the minimum amounts only from donors with the last name of Chouest, and they don’t include what the company spent on lobbying. Edison Chouest also owns several other companies that may have donated separately.

As of Friday afternoon, Murkowski was the only one of the three to have even mentioned the Kulluk incident on congressional websites, and Murkowski only noted she was “closely monitoring the developing situation,” without mentioning Edison Chouest. Gov. Sean Parnell hadn’t yet mentioned the Kulluk incident on his site, either.

Edison Chouest typically contributes healthy amounts to Louisiana politicians, national Republican committees, presidential campaigns, and other members of Congress connected to the marine and energy sectors, according to the website Influence Explorer and the political news outlet Roll Call. In 2011, Roll Call reported that Edison Chouest President Gary Chouest had ties to multiple companies that funded a defense fund for Young, who at the time was under federal investigation.




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