BP has broken a self-imposed moratorium on political donations to make big contributions to key Republican congressional leaders and the party’s electoral campaigns. Its first round of political contributions for the 2012 cycle total $29,000 and it “went almost entirely to the campaigns of a handful of House Republican leaders.” BP North America’s PAC gave $5,000 each to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), along with $10,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which are tasked with electing more Republicans to Congress.
Notably, BP also gave $5,000 to Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), who has used his chairmanship of the Energy Committee to push legislation friendly to oil companies like BP. However, Upton told The Hill “he is not accepting the contribution and will return it to BP.” The company also gave $1,000 to Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), who chairs the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-IN), the only Democrat to which BP donated, received $3,000.
As the Huffington Post’s Michael McAuliff reports, those who did take BP’s money did so “without blushing“:
“From day one, Speaker Boehner has been clear in his position that BP should be accountable for every dime of the Gulf cleanup,” said Boehner campaign spokesman Cory Fritz.
“We appreciate the support of all of our donors,” said the NRSC’s Brian Walsh.
Since taking control of Congress, Republicans have advanced oil-friendly bills on a number of fronts, seeking to strip the EPA of its ability to regulate greenhouse gases, preserve subsidies for oil companies, and reinstate President Bush’s lax standards on oil drilling in wilderness areas. Last year, Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) said it would be “ridiculous” to eliminate oil subsidies. Meanwhile, several Republican leaders have called for slashing funding to the EPA or even abolishing it outright. And of course, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) infamously apologized to BP during a congressional hearing on the Gulf spill last summer.