Background Memo: Big Oil's Campaign Cash
To: Interested Parties
From: Adam Smith, Communications Director, Public Campaign
Date: April 27, 2011
RE: Oil’s big profits—and big campaign giving
The Associated Press reports that oil companies are expected to have their best year since 2008, raking in an estimated $18.2 billion in estimated earnings in the first quarter. At the same time, a gallon of gas continues to increase, crossing the $4 mark in many areas. House Republicans just two months ago defeated a measure that would have ended the millions in taxpayer subsidies that oil companies get each year.
As pressure continues to increase on members of Congress to end subsidies for these highly profitable oil companies, these same companies are playing the Washington influence game to make sure they stay on top.
- The political action committees (PACs) for four top oil companies–BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and ExxonMobil—have given $285,500 in campaign cash to members of Congress and party committees in the first quarter of 2011. Top recipients so far this year include:
Member of Congress
Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio)
Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wy.)
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)
Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.)
Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.)
*This does not include any individual donations these members may have received from oil company executives in the first quarter of the year.
- Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who walked back comments he had made about being open to ending oil subsidies, has received $346,700 in oil and gas campaign contributions during his time in Congress.
- The PAC for Koch Industries, another major energy company, has spent $230,500 so far this year on donations to candidates, leadership PACs, and party committees. Both the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee received $15,000 in donations from the KochPAC. Over 80 members and their leadership PACs have received KochPAC money so far this cycle.
- Oil and gas company employees and PACs donated $30.5 million in campaign contributions to federal candidates in the 2010 cycle, with 77% going to Republicans and 23% to Democrats.
- Top givers included Koch Industries ($1.9 million in 2010), Exxon Mobil ($1.4 million), Chief Oil & Gas ($1.2 million), and Chevron ($941,464).
- In 2010, oil and gas interests spent $146.8 million on 793 lobbyists. Since 1998, these interests have spent over $1 billion lobbying Congress.