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BP Campaign Cash: Still Toxic Six Months After Oil Spill

October 20, 2010

(This article is re-posted from OpenSecrets.org)

Money from the political action committee of beleaguered oil company BP largely remains a toxic asset in Washington following the massive Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which started six months ago.

BP’s PAC did not write a single check to federal lawmakers in September, according to a Center for Responsive Politics review of campaign finance documents filed today. In fact, the PAC has not donated a dime to any federal lawmakers since May.

In May, BP’s political action committee wrote a $1,000 check to Rep. Charles Gonzalez (D-Texas), a member of the House Energy Committee, but Gonzalez never pocketed that contribution, as OpenSecrets Blog previously reported.

Instead, the PAC has focused its attention during the past several months on state-level candidates. Even then, some legislators and state-level politician seem to prefer Gonzalez’s approach of distancing themselves from the company.

Last month, the PAC wrote off contributions totaling $14,100 from 38 lawmakers in Indiana, according to OpenSecrets Blog’s review of campaign finance documents.

BP’s PAC had sent these politicians checks in June, as OpenSecrets Blog previously reported, but the candidates never cashed them. The PAC this month also reported writing off an August contribution of $750 to California Democratic state assemblywoman Norma Torres.

Nevertheless, during September, BP’s PAC donated $19,300 to three dozen state-level candidates, with 80 percent of that sum benefiting Republicans, according to the Center’s tally.

Transactions include $2,000 to Wyoming Republican gubernatorial candidate Matt Mead, $1,000 to Ohio Republican House Minority Leader Bill Batchelder, $1,000 a piece to five New Mexico politicians and a variety of other, smaller contributions to candidates and lawmakers in Indiana, Ohio, Washington and Wyoming.

In September, more than 200 BP employees contributed to their employer’s PAC, mostly in small amounts, according to the Center’s analysis.

Overall, BP’s PAC raised about $19,400 in September and ended the month with about $311,200 cash on hand. This sum is about $200 less than the amounted it raised in August, and it represents the smallest amount the PAC has taken in since the oil spill last April.

Since January 2009, BP’s PAC has contributed $80,000 to federal politicians and committees, with 56 percent of that amount benefiting Republicans. The PAC’s top beneficiaries at the federal level this cycle have been the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who lost an August primary to the Tea Party-fueled Joe Miller, but who continues to wage a competitive write-in campaign as in independent.  Both have received $5,000 from BP’s PAC.

BP’s actions became a national political issue after hundreds of millions of gallons of oil seeped into the ocean waters during the spill. In July, the well was capped, and last month, work on a relief well was completed and cement was pumped in to permanently plug it.

You can read more about the oil industry’s influence in federal politics in the 12-part OpenSecrets Blog series “Fueling Washington.”

 

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 4, 2010 5:24 am

    the oil spill in mexico really affected the eco system around that area, it would take years to clean those mess “”

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