Climate & Energy Blog

Sen. McConnell Named to ‘BP Ten,’ Urged to Give Up Tainted Oil Cash

Posted Jun. 24, 2010 / Posted by: Kelly Trout

For Immediate Release

Contact:
Kelly Trout, ktrout@foe.org, 202-222-0722
Scott Baumgartner, sbaumgartner@foe.org, 202-222-0751

Sen. McConnell Named to ‘BP Ten,’ Urged to Give Tainted Oil Cash to Gulf Recovery Effort

Friends of the Earth’s campaign targets underlying problem that led to Gulf spill: the undue influence of oil companies in Washington

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As millions of gallons of crude oil continue to hemorrhage daily into the Gulf of Mexico, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has earned oily marks from the environmental watchdog group Friends of the Earth as one of the Senate’s top recipients of campaign cash from BP over the past few years.

The group launched a campaign last week to pressure all members of Congress to donate the cash they’ve received from BP and other oil companies to Gulf recovery efforts.

Sen. McConnell has raked in $8,500 from BP and $408,400 from Big Oil since 2006, landing him a spot as one of the top Senate recipients of BP cash in that period. In total, Big Oil has spent $48,401,891 to curry favor from politicians in the 2008 and 2010 election cycles.

“We all know money talks. One glance at Sen. McConnell’s voting record shows Big Oil not only has his ear, it has his full-throttled support in pushing a dirty legislative to-do list,” said Friends of the Earth’s president, Erich Pica. “The senator’s recent comments deriding efforts to focus on reducing our nation’s oil dependence in the wake of the Gulf disaster are the latest in his long record of putting Big Oil’s interests above the nation’s.”

Evidence of Sen. McConnell’s catering to Big Oil cited by Friends of the Earth includes his repeated votes to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and additional swaths of U.S. coastline to drilling and his enthusiastic support for measures that would gut the Clean Air Act as a tool to reduce pollution from cars and smokestacks.

“Sen. McConnell exemplifies the overwhelming corporate influence in Washington, which has undermined the ability of our government to function in the public interest. This corruption has inhibited the transition to clean energy and produced the dangerous drilling policies that led to the disaster in the Gulf,” Pica added.

“Sen. McConnell needs to make clear whether he thinks he’s in an oil-igarchy or a democracy. If he’s committed to democracy, he must give this money back, stop doing corporate polluters’ bidding and start acting in the public interest.”

Friends of the Earth’s campaign applies to all members of Congress who have taken oil money, but will focus in particular on Senator McConnell and the other four senators and the five House members who have taken the most money from BP in the last few years. They are being urged to contribute the money to organizations like the Gulf Coast Fund, which channels resources directly to impacted communities so they can lead in recovery efforts.

The “BP Ten” are:

Senate
• John McCain (R-Ariz., $36,649 from BP and $2,428,287 from Big Oil since 2006)
• Mary Landrieu (D-La., $16,200 from BP and $329,100 from Big Oil since 2006)
• Mark Begich (D-Alaska, $8,550 from BP and $85,958 from Big Oil since 2006)
• Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska, $8,500 from BP and $223,326 from Big Oil since 2006)
• Mitch McConnell (R-Ky., $8,500 from BP and $408,400 from Big Oil since 2006)

House
• John Culberson (R-Texas, $10,200 from BP and $187,350 from Big Oil since 2006)
• Ron Paul (R-Texas, $7,300 from BP and $134,132 from Big Oil since 2006)
• Charles Rangel (D-N.Y., $6,500 from BP and $40,600 from Big Oil since 2006)
• Steny Hoyer (D-Md., $6,000 from BP and $91,800 from Big Oil since 2006)
• Don Young (R-Alaska, $5,500 from BP and $45,500 from Big Oil since 2006)

Source: OpenSecrets.org

More information about the campaign, including graphics and social media tools, is available at: http://www.foe.org/bp-ten.

More information about the Gulf Coast Fund, to which Friends of the Earth is urging members of Congress to direct the oil funds they have received, can be found at http://gulfcoastfund.org/.

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Friends of the Earth and our network of grassroots groups in 77 countries fight to create a more healthy, just world. Our current campaigns focus on clean energy and solutions to global warming, protecting people from toxic and new, potentially harmful technologies, and promoting smarter, low-pollution transportation alternatives.

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