Yesterday our friends at Oil Change International, along with 52 other groups, sent a letter to the members of the supercommittee demanding that the elimination of government handouts to the oil, coal and gas industries be a central part of the deficit reduction plan they are to present to the full Congress by November 23rd.
Big Oil companies, despite the bad economy ordinary Americans continue to struggle in, continue to post record profits. They clearly don't need taxpayer subsidies, but as one of the largest donors to members of Congress, they continue to get them. This would seem like an obvious place to start when looking for deficit-reduction measures, but this might prove difficult when you consider the amount of campaign cash members of the supercommittee have received from Big Oil in their careers.
According to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, the supercommittee has received a total of $2,445,159 from oil and gas interests since 1989, with Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) leading the way with $352,816. Here's a breakdown of each members' Big Oil campaign money:
|Member||Oil & Gas Money|
|Sen. Pat Toomey||$352,816|
|Sen. Jon Kyl||$334,332|
|Sen. Max Baucus||$324,115|
|Sen. Rob Portman||$317,958|
|Rep. Jeb Hensarling||$293,800|
|Rep. Fred Upton||$286,350|
|Rep. Dave Camp||$271,662|
|Sen. John Kerry||$102,810|
|Sen. Patty Murray||$57,366|
|Rep. James Clyburn||$51,500|
|Rep. Chris Van Hollen||$31,500|
|Rep. Xavier Becerra||$20,950|
It's hard to ignore these numbers. We'll know soon whether the supercommittee will look out for Americans who are struggling and come up with a balanced approach, or if they'll stand with their corporate and special interest campaign donors.