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For Both Clinton and Obama, Nuclear Donors

By Matthew Mosk
Nuclear energy has been a hot topic as Democrats steam toward the Nevada caucuses, with New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton making her opposition to storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain a major component of her campaign there.

Clinton has also made the topic a key point of attack against rival Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, putting out a radio ad that refers to Obama as being "hip deep in financial ties" to Chicago-based energy giant Exelon Corp., a nuclear plant operator that supports the Yucca waste site.

While Obama called the ad misleading during a campaign stop Thursday, his financial ties to Exelon appear to be inescapable. A cursory search of his campaign finance report shows 158 contributions from people who identify themselves as Exelon employees, totaling more than $150,000.

But Obama's not the only candidate wading deep in a pool of contributions from the nuclear energy industry.

Clinton has received $68,650 in 34 contributions from NRG Energy, and the company's chief executive, David Crane, is listed as one of her Hillraisers -- meaning he has brought more than $100,000 in contributions into the campaign. The Clintons' ties to the New Jersey-based power giant run deeper than that, though. The company committed $5 million to the Clinton Global Initiative in 2007, according to the web site of the charity run by former president Bill Clinton. The company's six-year commitment is $175 million.

The commitments are not donations to the former president's charity, but promises made by the company to the Global Initiative to spend the money on projects that will "help increase the benefits and reduce the burdens of global interdependence, make a world of more partners and fewer enemies, and give more people the tools they need to build a better future."

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 18, 2008; 4:16 PM ET
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