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Global Warming Law Opponents Help Sponsor Fiorina Fundraiser

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US Senate candidate and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina celebrates her primary win at the California Republican Party event on California Primary Election night on June 8, 2010 in Anaheim, California. (Getty Images)

US Senate candidate and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina celebrates her primary win at the California Republican Party event on California Primary Election night on June 8, 2010 in Anaheim, California. (Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Carly Fiorina worked to gain ground Thursday in raising money for her U.S. Senate race with at least two fundraisers in the nation’s capital, including one partly sponsored by a company seeking to undermine California’s global warming law.

Koch Industries, based in Wichita, Kan., is backing efforts to suspend a 2006 California law that calls for steep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions statewide. Its political action committee was one of more than two dozen sponsors at a fundraiser being held at National Republican Senatorial Committee headquarters.

The company’s presence led Democrats to suggest that Fiorina’s support for Proposition 23 on the Nov. 2 ballot stems from donations by oil and gas companies such as Koch.

Koch Industries has donated $1 million to the effort to pass the ballot initiative. It also is playing an active role in congressional races this year, donating about $1.8 million to federal candidates, with 85 percent flowing to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks political spending.

The company’s PAC has donated $5,000 to Fiorina, who was at a 12-to-1 fundraising disadvantage to Boxer at the end of the last campaign-finance reporting period, June 30.

Fiorina supports Proposition 23, saying the state law that it would suspend will lead to higher fees on businesses and more job losses in California. Under the initiative, the greenhouse gas law would be delayed until California’s unemployment rate falls to 5.5 percent and stays there for four consecutive quarters, which has happened just three times over the past three decades.

Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for the Fiorina campaign, said Fiorina has not talked to Koch officials about energy policy. She said Fiorina “does not owe anything to anyone and wants to go to Washington to fight for jobs and what’s in the best interest of all Californians.”

Saul also countered that Boxer is the top recipient of money from environmental groups this election cycle, based on rankings from the Center for Responsive Politics. Similar scrutiny should be applied to support she has provided for their causes, Saul said.

“Boxer has spent her entire career filling her coffers with extreme environmentalists’ donations and repaying them in political favors,” she said.

The Boxer campaign did not immediately return a request for comment.

Fiorina was scheduled to attend an afternoon fundraiser sponsored by former Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi and lawyers with the Washington lobbying firm of Patton Boggs.

Sponsors at the evening fundraiser include several Republican lawmakers and strategists. It was Koch Industries’ presence that attracted the attention of Democratic groups in California.

CEO Watch, a project of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, cited the fundraiser in a news release stating that Fiorina was meeting with “job outsourcers led by Tea Party heroes, the Koch brothers and their allies in the Republican Party.”

The company’s owners, David and Charles Koch, were the subject of a recent article in the New Yorker highlighting their financial support for Americans for Prosperity, an organization that has worked closely with tea party groups since the movement’s inception.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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