Obama Top Recipient of BP Campaign Contributions
As BP’s ruptured oil rig pumps thousands of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, President Barack Obama and members of Congress may have to answer for the millions in campaign contributions they’ve taken from the oil and gas giant over the years.
BP and its employees have given more than $3.5 million to federal candidates over the past 20 years, with the largest chunk of their money going to Obama, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Donations come from a mix of employees and the company’s political action committees — $2.89 million flowed to campaigns from BP-related PACs and about $638,000 came from individuals.
During his time in the Senate and while running for president, Obama received a total of $77,051 from the oil giant and is the top recipient of BP PAC and individual money over the past 20 years, according to financial disclosure records.
An Obama spokesman rejected the notion that the president took big oil money.
“President Obama didn’t accept a dime from corporate PACs or federal lobbyists during his presidential campaign,” spokesman Ben LaBolt said. “He raised $750 million from nearly four million Americans. And since he became president, he rolled back tax breaks and giveaways for the oil and gas industry, spearheaded a G20 agreement to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, and made the largest investment in American history in clean energy incentives.”
CNN reports, BP America President Lamar McKay has been asked to appear next week to discuss the oil spill before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, whose members received the largest share of BP’s campaign contributions over the last two election cycles, the Center for Responsive Politics notes.
“In 2009, individuals and political action committees associated with BP donated $16,000 to members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee,” the center found.
The center says five of the top 10 recipients of BP dollars in the House sit on that committee: John Dingell, D-Michigan; Joe Barton, R-Texas; Ralph Hall, R-Texas; Roy Blunt, R-Missouri; and Fred Upton, R-Michigan.
“All have received upward of $13,000 from BP-related individuals and political action committees during the past two decades,” according to the Center for Responsive Politics. “Dingell, the second most favored recipient of BP money in the House, has received $31,000.”
“If BP faces heavy federal scrutiny, it’s well-positioned to fight back: The London-based company has consistently spent top dollar to influence legislative and regulatory activity in Washington, D.C.,” the Center states.
The company spent almost $16 million lobbying Congress in 2009 and more than $3.5 million this year.