In a Washington Post discussion yesterday, Eric Burgeson, environmental and energy adviser to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), was asked if McCain will “stand up” and support the elimination of “subsidies” to oil companies. Burgeson responded that McCain isn’t afraid to “stand up” to big business:
Q: While I support ethanol and believe that it is a valuable first step, I do not believe that the criticism of subsidies for ethanol is fair. I gladly would support no subsidies or tax breaks for ethanol if the same were done for the oil industry. I cannot believe anyone is strong enough to stand up to the oil industry. Does Sen. McCain believe that this is possible?
BURGESON: You are right, powerful interests in Washington, DC are difficult to stand up to. But if there is anyone in Washington who can do it, it is Senator McCain who has built his career and reputation standing up to special interests. As for subsidies, Senator McCain has a clear position that he opposes subsidies, not just ethanol subsidies, but all subsidies.
McCain has long delivered empty rhetoric about oil companies. In 2007, he said he would end “rifle-shot tax breaks for big oil.” But his proposals are giveaways for Big Oil and big businesses. McCain’s signature tax cut plan would deliver $3.8 billion to the five largest American oil companies, according to a Center for American Progress Action Fund analysis:
Since first running for the Senate in 1986, McCain has received at least $549,712 from the oil and gas industry, with over half coming in the last two years alone. His senior adviser, Charlie Black, is a registered lobbyist for two Russian oil companies and his former lobbying firm was hired in 2005 by the China National Off-Shore Oil Corporation.
By Burgeson’s definition, the definition of “standing up” to the “special interests” is giving them money.