House Members Side with Big Oil After Taking $8.7 Million in Campaign Cash

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Washington, D.C.---U.S. House members who defeated a measure to begin debate on legislation to end certain subsidies for oil companies received five times more in campaign contributions, on average, from the oil and gas industry in the 2010 election cycle than those who voted to proceed with the motion, according to campaign watchdog Public Campaign Action Fund.

This afternoon, House Democrats tried to pass a motion that would allow a vote on a provision to end certain subsidies to oil companies, but it was defeated 241-171, with just seven Democrats joining with Republicans to oppose the measure.

“Americans are struggling with the high cost of filling their gas tanks, but some members of Congress seemed only concerned with their Big Oil donors,” said David Donnelly, national campaigns director for Public Campaign Action Fund.

According to the analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics:

  • House members who voted to continue the subsidies received, on average, five times more money in 2010 from oil and gas interests. Those voting to block debate received $36,066, on average, in campaign contributions from oil and gas interests. Those who voted to begin debate received, on average, $7,192 in campaign contributions from the industry.
  • Overall, members that voted to continue the subsidies received more than $8.7 million in campaign contributions from oil and gas interests in 2010 while those opposed raised just $1.2 million.
  • 16 of the 18 U.S. House members that received over $100,000 in campaign contributions from the industry in 2010 voted to block debate. One voted to proceed and a second did not vote.

Name

Party, State

Vote

Oil and Gas Money

Pearce, Steve

R-NM

Yea

$309,420

Pompeo, Mike

R-KS

Yea

$250,156

Boren, Dan

D-OK

Yea

$225,550

Flores, William

R-TX

Yea

$212,528

Gardner, Cory

R-CO

Yea

$171,324

Barton, Joe

R-TX

Yea

$161,870

Landry, Jeffrey M

R-LA

Yea

$158,050

Ross, Mike

D-AR

Nay

$156,950

Fleming, John

R-LA

Yea

$150,100

Conaway, Mike

R-TX

Yea

$144,050

Boehner, John

R-OH

Yea

$139,150

Sullivan, John

R-OK

Yea

$131,300

Griffin, Tim

R-AR

Yea

$126,959

Cantor, Eric

R-VA

NV

$120,300

Lankford, James

R-OK

Yea

$119,960

Berg, Rick

R-ND

Yea

$114,311

Boustany, Charles

R-LA

Yea

$113,900

Upton, Fred

R-MI

Yea

$100,700

The five largest U.S. oil companies—Exxon, Conoco Phillips, BP, Shell, and Chevron—made over $30 billion in profits in the first quarter of 2011, yet they continue to get generous government subsidies and tax breaks. Today’s House vote would’ve ended these unnecessary handouts.

“Voting to keep these wasteful subsidies for oil companies might be good for campaign bank accounts, but it won’t solve our deficit,” said Donnelly. “Members of Congress should be standing with their constituents instead of their big oil donors.”

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Public Campaign Action Fund is a national nonprofit watchdog group working to improve America's election laws and to hold elected officials accountable.