This is how you buy the government of the United States. You say, “$721 million is a lot of money.” I respond it is a cost of business item. Fossil fuel companies operating in the U.S. and Canada made $271 billion dollars in profit in 2012, while continuing to receive billions in subsidies. As of April 14, 2014 , according to Mother Jones, “Taxpayers currently subsidize the oil industry by as much as $4.8 billion a year, with about half of that going to the big five oil companies—ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, BP, and ConocoPhillips.” So let me see. They spent $721 million to buy the government; they got $4.8 billion in subsidies. And the conclusion is: You and I paid the fossil fuel companies through subsidies, money which they metaphorically in turn used to buy the government so that it operates responsive to their interests, rather than the interests of the citizens who paid the taxes. What a deal.