Energy giants, including Southern Co., have poured millions of dollars into Republican political campaigns and a massive lobbying effort to stop the costly lawsuits filed during Clinton’s term. The chief lobbyist for a group of utilities is former Republican National Committee chairman Haley Barbour. Southern Co., a principal member of this group, contributed $540,000 to GOP organizations during the 2000 election.
Thomas R. Kuhn, president of Edison Electric Institute, the utilities’ trade association, was a college classmate of Bush’s and helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for the president’s 2000 election. Kuhn attended three of the eight meetings that Deputy Energy Secretary Francis S. Blake held with outside groups to discuss how the administration would proceed on enforcement, according to a department document.