Research Center

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

 

For more information, contact Mary Boyle, (202) 736-5770.

 

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

$2,550,000

American Petroleum Institute

$1,810,000

American Electric Power

$1,716,913

Norfolk Southern Corporation

$1,485,026

Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC

$1,480,000

Duke Energy Corporation

$1,282,770

Constellation Energy Group

$930,000

Ameren Services

$890,000

Peabody Investments Corp

$820,000

Flint Hills Resources, LP

$810,000

Firstenergy Corp

$740,000

Energy Future Holdings (Formerly TXU Electric Delivery)

$673,722

Pacific Gas And Electric Company ( PG&E Corporation)

$670,000

Entergy Services

$660,000

Nucor Corporation

$650,000

National Electrical Manufacturers Association

$590,000

National Business Aviation Association Inc

$580,000

Xcel Energy Inc

$570,000

Dominion

$470,000

DTE Energy

$465,254

Consumer Electronics Association

$410,000

Progress Energy Inc

$380,000

Eastman Kodak Company

$350,000

Portland Cement Association

$350,000

Emerson

$312,500

Northeast Utilities Service Company

$310,000

Pepco Holdings Inc

$310,000

Puget Sound Energy

$270,000

Teco Energy Inc

$270,000

Arch Coal

$240,000

Rio Tinto Services Inc

$237,000

Portland General Electric

$190,000

American Public Power Association

$123,810

Covanta Energy Corporation

$110,000

Total

$23,706,995

Source: Senate Office of Public Records (sopr.senate.gov) 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

Mining

Electric Utilities

Total

2008 election cycle

2010

election cycle

2008

election cycle

2010

election cycle

2008

election cycle

2010

election cycle

Inhofe, James M (R-OK)

$365,200

$2,300

$116,750

 

$145,404

$3,000

$632,654

Barrasso, John A (R-WY)

$155,750

$1,000

$58,150

$1,000

$100,600

$3,500

$320,000

Baucus, Max (D-MT)

$96,100

$1,000

$25,800

 

$170,942

$2,000

$295,842

Voinovich, George V (R-OH)

$39,997

 

$52,500

 

$164,010

($30,300)

$226,207

Alexander, Lamar (R-TN)

$135,450

 

$5,000

 

$49,500

 

$189,950

Vitter, David (R-LA)

$75,400

$36,600

$2,500

 

$22,500

$19,499

$156,499

Lautenberg, Frank R (D-NJ)

$30,750

 

 

 

$29,700

 

$60,450

Bond, Christopher (R-MO)

$16,050

 

$24,200

 

$16,500

 

$56,750

Boxer, Barbara (D-CA)

$1,700

 

$1,000

$250

$35,950

$12,250

$51,150

Specter, Arlen (D-PA)

 

$4,600

 

$19,500

 

$22,499

$46,599

Klobuchar, Amy (D-MN)

 

 

 

 

$18,000

$6,000

$24,000

Carper, Tom (D-DE)

$5,000

$1,240

 

 

$3,720

$1,620

$11,580

Gillibrand, Kirsten (D-NY)

 

$4,500

 

$1,000

 

$4,000

$9,500

Crapo, Mike (R-ID)

$3,000

$1,000

$2,900

 

$500

$2,000

$9,400

Cardin, Ben (D-MD)

$5,000

$1,000

 

 

$2,000

$1,000

$9,000

Merkley, Jeff (D-OR)

 

 

 

 

 

$2,500

$2,500

Udall, Mark (D-CO)

 

 

 

 

 

$2,500

$2,500

Whitehouse, Sheldon (D-RI)

 

 

 

 

$2,500

 

$2,500

Sanders, Bernie (I-VT)

 

 

 

 

 

 

$0

Total

$929,397

$53,240

$288,800

$21,750

$761,826

$52,068

$2,107,081

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