Today, the Denton Record Chronicle reports on the financing of those supporting and opposing the fracking ban on the ballot this fall. (Spoiler: we want you to vote FOR the ban)
The raw campaign finance reports are available if you want to pore over them yourself, but here’s the nut:
The group against the ban, Denton Taxpayers for a Strong Economy, has received $230,000 in donations. Of that, only $750 comes from Denton sources. The rest comes not from out-of-town residents, it comes from out-of-town fracking companies: $75,000 from XTO, $75,000 from Enervest, and $75,000 from Devon.
In other words, “Denton Taxpayers for a Strong Economy” isn’t from Denton at all. More properly named, it’s “out-of-town oil and gas corporations against a Denton fracking ban”.
On the other hand, our campaign finance reports show that $30,000 of our donations came from… Earthworks!?!?!? Say what?
First thing, Earthworks is part of the Frack Free Denton campaign, no doubt about it. Their logo has been our website from the get-go (see our website’s footer). And they’re part of it because we invited them. We invited them because that’s what Earthworks does: they help communities that are wrestling with the oil and gas industry. In Texas, besides Denton they’ve helped Southlake, Flower Mound, and Dish, among others.
But it’s untrue that the Frack Free Denton campaign is funded by Earthworks.
How so? Because more than 95% of the money Earthworks spent on Frack Free Denton originated in Denton. Dentonites gave the money to Earthworks to give to us.
Why would people choose to give to Earthworks rather than directly to the campaign? It could be that Earthworks has a 4-star rating by respected evaluators of non-profit organizations and is a Better Business Bureau accredited charity. But, it could also be that by donating through Earthworks instead of directly to Frack Free Denton, donors don’t have to share their name with anybody – including the oil and gas industry. They can protect their identity. And in case you’ve forgotten, the oil and gas industry has been very aggressive toward anyone working to limit its reach.