Senators Rewarded for Oil Subsidies Vote

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On March 29th, the U.S. Senate failed to pass legislation to end billions of dollars in wasteful subsidies to oil companies. In the month after the vote, seven Senators were rewarded for their “no” vote with campaign contributions from the country’s top oil companies (Exxon, BP, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips) and their trade association (American Petroleum Institute), according to filings with the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

  • Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) received $7,500, with $2,500 from the American Petroleum Institute PAC and $5,000 from ConocoPhillips PAC in April.
  • Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) received $6,500, with $2,500 from the American Petroleum Institute PAC, $2,500 from Exxon PAC, and $1,500 from ConocoPhillips PAC.
  • Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) received $5,000 from the Exxon PAC.
  • Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) received $3,000 from Exxon PAC.
  • Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) received $1,000 from the BP PAC (April was also the second anniversary of BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster).
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) received $1,000 each from the Exxon and BP PACs.
  • Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) received $1,000 from the Exxon PAC.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who has previously voted against ending subsidies, received $1,500 from the Chevron PAC. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who supported the legislation, received $1,000 from ConocoPhillips PAC.

Several senate candidates also benefited from the oil industry’s largesse in April:

  • Rep. Rick Berg (R-Mont.), who has voted to maintain oil subsidies in the House, received $10,000 in contributions from these PACs.
  • Former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) received $5,000 in contributions.
  • Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel (R-Ohio), collected $5,000.
  • Former Rep. Heather Wilson (R-N.M.) received $6,000 in contributions.

Republicans received 98 percent, or $53,500 of $54,500, given to U.S. Senators or Senate candidates in the month of April. Overall, these PACs doled out $116,000 in contributions to federal House and Senate candidates last month.

Shell Oil, usually included in the list of top five oil companies, did not make any PAC contributions in April.