For Immediate Release Energy companies serve up Washington's 'Black Gold'

Posted on July 9, 2009

Energy companies serve up Washington's 'Black Gold' - lavish spending on lobbying and campaign contributions

Nearly $24 million spent lobbying, $4 million in contributions since January

As the Senate considers climate legislation that would limit the emission of greenhouse gases, the energy industry is spending lavishly on lobbying and campaign contributions to fight such a proposal. Since the beginning of the year, oil and gas companies and electric utilities have spent nearly $24 million lobbying Congress and have made more than $4 million in campaign contributions to members of Congress, according to data by the Center for Responsive Politics.

"The energy industry is betting millions that they can buy influence in Congress and protect their profits, even if it means blocking an important step towards clean, renewable energy and a healthier planet," said Common Cause President Bob Edgar. "Tackling problems like global warming must start by ending the flow of Washington's 'Black Gold' of campaign contributions and lobbying cash to the most influential members of Congress from the very industries that this new law would affect."

According to lobby disclosure reports, 34 energy companies registered in the first quarter of 2009 to lobby Congress around the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. This group of companies spent a total of $23.7 million -- or $260,000 a day -- lobbying members of Congress in January, February and March. (Table 1 below lists companies that reported lobbying on the climate bill, HR 2454, and the amount they spent on lobbying during the first quarter.)

Many of these same companies also made large contributions to the members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which has jurisdiction over the legislation and held a hearing this week on the proposed "cap and trade" system energy companies are fighting. Data shows oil and gas companies, mining companies and electric utilities combined have given more than $2 million just to the 19 members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee since 2007, the start of the last full election cycle.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) received the most energy contributions by far, more than $630,000. Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) was next, taking in more than $320,000. (Table 2 lists campaign contributions from the oil and gas, mining and electric utilities industries to the members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee since 2007).

Table 1: Lobbying Expenditures of Companies Lobbying on H.R. 2454, 1st Quarter 2009

Client Name

Amount Reported

Edison Electric Institute


American Petroleum Institute


American Electric Power


Norfolk Southern Corporation


Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC


Duke Energy Corporation


Constellation Energy Group


Ameren Services


Peabody Investments Corp


Flint Hills Resources, LP


Firstenergy Corp


Energy Future Holdings (Formerly TXU Electric Delivery)


Pacific Gas And Electric Company ( PG&E Corporation)


Entergy Services


Nucor Corporation


National Electrical Manufacturers Association


National Business Aviation Association Inc


Xcel Energy Inc




DTE Energy


Consumer Electronics Association


Progress Energy Inc


Eastman Kodak Company


Portland Cement Association




Northeast Utilities Service Company


Pepco Holdings Inc


Puget Sound Energy


Teco Energy Inc


Arch Coal


Rio Tinto Services Inc


Portland General Electric


American Public Power Association


Covanta Energy Corporation




Source: Senate Office of Public Records ( Note: Amount reflects spending on all lobbying activities

Table 2: Energy Industry Donations to Members of Senate Environment and Public Works Committee

Committee Members

Oil & Gas


Electric Utilities


2008 election cycle


election cycle


election cycle


election cycle


election cycle


election cycle

Inhofe, James M (R-OK)







Barrasso, John A (R-WY)








Baucus, Max (D-MT)







Voinovich, George V (R-OH)






Alexander, Lamar (R-TN)





Vitter, David (R-LA)







Lautenberg, Frank R (D-NJ)




Bond, Christopher (R-MO)





Boxer, Barbara (D-CA)







Specter, Arlen (D-PA)





Klobuchar, Amy (D-MN)




Carper, Tom (D-DE)






Gillibrand, Kirsten (D-NY)





Crapo, Mike (R-ID)







Cardin, Ben (D-MD)






Merkley, Jeff (D-OR)



Udall, Mark (D-CO)



Whitehouse, Sheldon (D-RI)



Sanders, Bernie (I-VT)










Source: Center for Responsive Politics ( Contributions are from PACs and individuals giving $200 or more.


Office: Common Cause National

Issues: Money in Politics

Tags: Exposing Corporate Power

Common Cause is a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.

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