US Senate climate change deniers and Tea Party favourites including Jim DeMint and James Inhofe are being funded by BP and other polluters. Photograph: Ethan Miller/Getty Images
An analysis of campaign finance by Climate Action Network Europe (Cane) found nearly 80% of campaign donations from a number of major European firms were directed towards senators who blocked action on climate change. These included incumbents who have been embraced by the Tea Party such as Jim DeMint, a Republican from South Carolina, and the notorious climate change denier James Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma.
The report, released tomorrow, used information on the Open Secrets.org database to track what it called a co-ordinated attempt by some of Europe's biggest polluters to influence the US midterms. It said:
Obama and Democrats have accused corporate interests and anonymous donors of trying to hijack the midterms by funnelling money to the Chamber of Commerce and to conservative Tea Party groups. The Chamber of Commerce reportedly has raised $75m (£47m) for pro-business, mainly Republican candidates.
Much of the speculation has focused on Karl Rove, the mastermind of George Bush's victories, who has raised $15m for Republican candidates since September through a new organisation, American Crossroads. An NBC report warned that Rove was spearheading an effort to inject some $250m in television advertising for Republican candidates in the final days before the 2 November elections.
But Rove, appearing today on CBS television's Face the Nation, accused Democrats of deploying the same tactics in 2008.
The Cane report said the companies, including BP, BASF, Bayer and Solvay, which are some of Europe's biggest emitters, had collectively donated $240,200 to senators who blocked action on global warming – more even than the $217,000 the oil billionaires and Tea Party bankrollers, David and Charles Koch, have donated to Senate campaigns.
The biggest single donor was the German pharmaceutical company Bayer, which gave $108,100 to senators. BP made $25,000 in campaign donations, of which $18,000 went to senators who opposed action on climate change. Recipients of the European campaign donations included some of the biggest climate deniers in the Senate, such as Inhofe of Oklahoma, who has called global warming a hoax.
The foreign corporate interest in America's midterms is not restricted to Europe. A report by ThinkProgress, operated by the Centre for American Progress, tracked donations to the Chamber of Commerce from a number of Indian and Middle Eastern oil coal and electricity companies.
Foreign interest does not stop with the elections. The Guardian reported earlier this year that a Belgian-based chemical company, Solvay, was behind a front group that is suing to strip the Obama administration of its powers to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.