SourceWatch:Project:Adding Details on U.S. power company and utility lobbyists 2008 and 2009

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This article is part of the Coal Issues portal on SourceWatch, a project of CoalSwarm and the Center for Media and Democracy. See here for help on adding material to CoalSwarm.

Learn more from the Center for Media and Democracy's research on climate change.

Here's how you can help with adding information to an existing SourceWatch page on the U.S. power company and utility lobbyists 2008 and 2009 - Top Ten Generators.

Earlier this year, the Center for Public Integrity, a non-profit investigative journalism group based in Washington D.C., launched a database on the mostly corporate lobbyists working on climate change issues. Our aim is to summarize the information in their database and make it more easily accessible for citizens and journalists.

In particular, we initially want to create summaries on the amounts spent by the top coal burning power utilities in the U.S. and identify the lobbying firms and the lobbyists they are using.

Help desk

If this is the first time you have edited SourceWatch pages, you may find some of the following steps confusing. If you need help, you can:

  • post a note to one of the following pages: User talk:Ted Nace, User talk:Kaethin or User talk:Bob Burton. To do this, after registering here and logging in, just click on the link for one of the three editors, click the "edit this page" tab, scoll down to the bottom of the page and post your query. Then post a brief note summarizing your query in the "Summary" bar and click "save page". Then, the next time your selected user is on the SourceWatch website, they will get a message alerting them to your query.
  • Or alternatively, you can email them directly via this website. To do that, click on one of the following links and send your query:

Please note that there can be a time delay in responding, depending on what time zone you are in, but that we will aim to get back to you as soon as possible.

What Do I Need to Do?

  • Step 1. First, you will need to register as an editor. (You can do that here. Then login (See here for more details. There is also more background on SourceWatch here).


  • Step 2. In your browser, open a new tab. Then cut and paste the following text into the tab to open the page that you will be editing. (After you have opened this tab in your browser, return to the page you are currently reading for the next step.)

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=U.S._power_company_and_utility_lobbyists_2008_and_2009_-_Top_Ten_Generators

The largest coal-burning power utilities in the U.S. (along with the number of their coal plants in 2005) that we are initially building profiles on are:


  • Step 3. Pick one of the companies listed above. The amount spent by the company on either its in-house lobbying team or on each of its external lobbying firms is listed.

Tally the amount spent by the company on each of:

a) its own internal lobbying (if it is listed);
b) each lobbying firm for 2008; and
c) for 2009.

It will probably be easiest to prepare your summary text on the above in another program, such as a window in your email program. (This way you have a backup copy should anything go wrong). For example, your information may look like this:

COMPANY NAME spent $XX,XXX on in-house lobbying costs in 2008 and a further $XX,0000 to date in 2009.
COMPANY NAME also spent $XX,000 on NAME OF LOBBYING FIRM in 2008 and a further $XX,0000 to date in 2009. (Repeat this step for as many lobbying firms that are listed.)

(If there are red links for some of the lobbying firms, this simply means that the article page for that firms hasn't been created yet).


  • Step 4. Now we need to add the name of the individual lobbyists working either directly for the company or for the lobbying firm working on the company or utility's account.

For the company you selected from the U.S. power company and utility lobbyists 2008 and 2009 - Top Ten Generators page, click on the first link in the list of lobbying data (which appears like [1] this). This takes you to the lobbyist disclosure data for the firm which has been compiled by the Center for Public Integrity.

The window that opens up will list the names of the individual lobbyists working either directly for the company or for a lobbying firm. Add the names to your summary. (Most of them will be the same for both years year but there will be a few where new lobbyists are employed. So, for each lobbying firm you will need to check each of the links in the data on your selected company. If new lobbyists join the account, add their name to the summary.)

For example, your summary information in your word processing document may now look like this:

COMPANY NAME spent $XX,XXX on in-house lobbying costs in 2008 and a further $XX,0000 to date in 2009. The registered lobbyists were NAME1, NAME1, NAME3 and NAME4.
COMPANY NAME also spent $XX,000 on NAME OF LOBBYING FIRM in 2008 and a further $XX,0000 to date in 2009. The registered lobbyists were NAME1, NAME1, NAME3 and NAME4.(Repeat this step for as many lobbying firms that are listed.)


  • Step 5. Now we need to add the references for each key statement. (See Help:References for more information on our preferred referencing standards.)

In a new tab, open http://projects.publicintegrity.org/climatelobby/ and then type in the name of your selected company. This will open up a window with an overall listing of the lobbying disclosure information for the company in the the Center for Public Integrity database.

Copy the url address for your results. So for example, the url for Ameren looks like this http://projects.publicintegrity.org/climatelobby/Results.aspx?ClientName=Ameren&LobbyingFirm=&Expense=-1&LobbyistName=&Quarter=&BizCategory=&Results_BizCategory=1&Results_ClientName=1&Results_Expense=1&Results_LobbyingFirm=1&Results_Quarter=1

Your reference tag will look something like this <ref name="COMPANY">[URL TO THE SEARCH RESULTS FOR YOUR SELECTED COMPANY then add (in quotes) "COMPANY NAME"], Center for Public Integrity, accessed July 2009.</ref>

Add your overall reference tag to you summary which may now look like

COMPANY NAME spent $XX,XXX on in-house lobbying costs in 2008 and a further $XX,0000 to date in 2009.<ref name="COMPANY">[URL TO THE SEARCH RESULTS FOR YOUR SELECTED COMPANY then add (in quotes) "COMPANY NAME"], Center for Public Integrity, accessed July 2009.</ref> The registered lobbyists were NAME1, NAME1, NAME3 and NAME4.
COMPANY NAME also spent $XX,000 on NAME OF LOBBYING FIRM in 2008 and a further $XX,0000 to date in 2009.<ref name="COMPANY">[URL TO THE SEARCH RESULTS FOR YOUR SELECTED COMPANY then add (in quotes) "COMPANY NAME"], Center for Public Integrity, accessed July 2009.</ref> The registered lobbyists were NAME1, NAME1, NAME3 and NAME4.(Repeat this step for as many lobbying firms that are listed.)


  • Step 6. Save. Scroll down to the bottom of the window. In the "summary" space add "adding lobbyists info" then click the "Save page" button.


  • Step 7. The article will be displayed on your screen. If you need to add more information, re-open the editing window by clicking on the "Edit this page" tab on the top of the article or the specific company section.

That's all you need to do. Once we have done completed the summaries on the individual companies, we hope to start pages on each of the lobbyists but more on that later.


  • Step 8. Once you are all done, re-open the page and copy the material that you have added.

Then go to the company page, such as Ameren and paste the copied material into the "Lobbyists" section.



Need Help?

If for any reason you have a problem and need help you can

  • check the Help pages here;
  • or if you still need help, have a look at which editors are online by reviewing the most recent posts as Special:Recentchanges. Pick one of the other users, click on the "Talk" link and post a query and hopefully they will be able to promptly help you while you are online.

Thanks for your assistance.

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