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July 24, 2010

(This article is re-posted from Open Secrets.)

Reports released Thursday by two major Washington, D.C., publications are highlighting the extent of the oil and gas industry’s political influence, which has increased in the wake of the BP oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. An analysis by the Washington Post with data from the Center for Responsive Politics finds that three of every four lobbyists who represent oil and gas companies previously worked for the federal government. It’s an astounding number – one that puts the industry far ahead of the general lobbying field. According to the Center’s analysis, fewer than one in three registered lobbyists in 2009 had previously traveled through the revolving door between government and the influence industry — a rate less than half that of the oil and gas industry.

Democrats in Congress have sought to translate public anger at the oil spill and its primary agent, BP, into momentum for long-sought energy legislation. But with more than 600 registered lobbyists, Big Oil also has a potent weapon to yield in the debate. And according to a separate analysis released Thursday by Politico, the industry is making the most of its force. That report details a veritable spending spree by some of the oil and gas industry’s major players during the second quarter, including the American Petroleum Institute and BP. Most notably, the API nearly doubled the amount it spent on lobbying expenditures during the first three months of the year, increasing the total to $2.3 million. BP meanwhile spent $1.7 million on federal lobbying. Democrats announced on Thursday that they would drop comprehensive energy legislation from the agenda.

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