Industry cash fills coffer of Sessions’ Senate replacement

By Kristi E. Swartz | 02/10/2017 07:22 AM EST

Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.).

Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.). Photo courtesy of Strange via Facebook.

Alabama’s newest U.S. senator is heading to Washington with thousands of dollars in contributions from energy companies in his campaign coffer.

Sen. Luther Strange (R), who until yesterday was Alabama’s attorney general, has received hundreds of thousands in contributions from the state’s major employers — two of which are Drummond Co. and Alabama Power Co., a review of disclosures show.

Strange was sworn in yesterday as senator, replacing Jeff Sessions, now U.S. attorney general.


Alabama Power’s parent, Atlanta-based Southern Co., is Sessions’ single biggest corporate donor. Balch & Bingham LLP, one of its main law firms, and Birmingham-based coal giant Drummond were Nos. 2 and 3, respectively, according to financial disclosure reports filed with the federal government and analyzed by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Alabama Power’s employees contributed to Strange through the company’s state employee’s political action committee. Drummond also contributed through two coal-associated PACs: ALPAC and ENPAC.

"While Alabama Power Co. has not made contributions to state political candidates, Alabama Power Co. employees voluntarily operate and fund a political action committee that offers support to candidates who understand the concerns of employees, customers and shareholders of the company," company spokesman Michael Sznajderman said.

E&E News reviewed Strange’s disclosures from September 2013 through the end of 2016. Strange was elected to a second term in 2014.

Strange also received significant contributions from Koch Industries Inc., as well as some donations from the former CEO of El Paso Corp., Nucor Corp.’s PAC and Atlanta-based AGL Resources, the nation’s largest pipeline distribution company now owned by Southern Co.

Strange’s campaign coffers swelled to nearly $400,000 at the beginning of 2014. He received donations from a wide range of business and industry, including poultry, construction, telephone and tobacco companies, as well as Realtors, lawyers and insurance companies.

Significant contributions also came from the Republican State Leadership Committee and the Republican Attorneys General Association Alabama PAC.