Palin charges Obama response to oil disaster is driven by BP contributions

Center for Responsive Politics: “The $71,051 that Obama received during the 2008 election cycle was entirely from BP employees” and constituted under 0.01% of his total contributions

Weeks after BP oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, Politico reported that during the last 20 years, the company and its employees gave more money to President Obama than any other federal political candidate.

On Fox News Sunday, Sarah Palin tried to make it into a wider narrative. “I don’t know why the question isn’t asked by the mainstream media and by others if there’s any connection with the contributions made to President Obama and his administration and the support by the oil companies to the administration,” she said.  Think Progress has the story on this inane charge in this repost (which is followed by a Media Matters excerpt).

Palin wondered if there is “any connection there to President Obama taking so doggone long to “¦ grasp the complexity and the potential tragedy that we are seeing here in the Gulf of Mexico.”  Mainstream media outlet the Wall Street Journal did ask and it appears the answer doesn’t give cover to Palin’s charges:

According to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, Republicans receive far more campaign money from the oil and gas industry than do Democrats.

So far in 2010, the oil and gas industries have contributed $12.8 million to all candidates, with 71% of that money going to Republicans. During the 2008 election cycle, 77% of the industry’s $35.6 million in contributions went to Republicans, and in the 2008 presidential contest, Republican candidate Sen. John McCain received more than twice as much money from the oil and gas industries as Obama: McCain collected $2.4 million; Obama, $898,000.

Moreover, as Time’s Michael Scherer noted, the Politico article on BP’s donations “fails to provide the context readers need” considering Obama ran for president, and the numbers aren’t adjusted for “campaign inflation.” Even right-wing blogger Ed Morrissey warned the GOP not to “overpay their hand on this issue.”

This was a Think Progress repost.  Media Matters further notes:

Like clockwork, media outlets seized on Palin’s accusation and cited Center for Responsive Politics’ calculation that Obama had received $71,051 in BP-linked contributions for his presidential campaign. Only problem is, contrary to Palin’s and the media’s suggestions, all of that money came from BP employees, not BP the company. A spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics confirmed Monday that “the $71,051 that Obama received during the 2008 election cycle was entirely from BP employees.” The CRP spokesman also stated that “Obama did not accept contributions from political action committees, so none of this money is from BP’s PAC. And corporations themselves are prohibited from donating directly to candidates from their corporate treasuries.”

Why is this an important distinction? Because Obama raised far more money than any other candidate ever has, therefore, it is completely unsurprising that Obama also received the most amount of money from BP employees. Moreover, BP-linked contributions to Obama’s campaign are a drop in the bucket when compared to Obama’s total campaign haul. In addition to the $71,051 Obama received from BP-linked contributors in 2008, Obama’s 2004 Senate campaign raised $6,000 from BP-linked sources, bringing Obama’s total BP-related campaign contributions to 77,051. This represents less than .01 percent of the nearly $800 million that Obama raised for his campaigns.

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20 Responses to Palin charges Obama response to oil disaster is driven by BP contributions

  1. Victor Balco says:

    Big Oil funded Obama? Why do we hear this from Governor Palin and not the leftist media? Obama is slow and non responsive to the oil disaster. He just talks big.

  2. Leif says:

    People in glass houses should not throw stones.

    I trust that you will be forth coming with a full report of your donations from BP, and to show good faith, oil in general.

  3. mike roddy says:

    Palin’s handlers have quality research and opinion organizations, and have determined that this issue will play well with the voters. As for Palin’s own sorry “drill baby drill” record, people like Rove have always assumed that the public is too dumb to notice these kinds of contradictions (see the Swift Boat campaign).

    The important lesson is that Obama has indeed acted too much like Bush during this crisis, and somehow even the oil soaked Republicans can exploit it. Issuing more offshore drilling permits after the gusher, including assessment waivers, was an incredible error. And turning over the cleanup to BP may have made sense on technical grounds, since they apparently have the equipment and personnel, but the federal government should have assumed full control. Then we wouldn’t have had to do things like beg to take underwater photos to determine flow rates.

    The fossil fuel companies remain in charge of our government, especially in Congress, and manage the media, too. I don’t know how we fix it. The Democrats have failed, and there is no one else. Obama is the only one who can change this, and his pivot now is going to have to be 180 degrees.

  4. Bill Waterhouse says:

    Victor – Big Oil told us this disaster couldn’t happen and lobbied for legislation that put it in control of response to accidents rather having oil taxes that could have supported a robust govt capability for a govt response. That was the system Obama inherited from oilman Bush and oilman Cheney and the cut taxes, cut govt conservatives in Congress.

  5. mike roddy says:

    Exhibit A: Senator Mary Landrieu (D, Louisiana) opines on the Gulf spill:

    “What’s important about this sheen is that 97% of it is a rainbow sheen. Only 3% contains emulsified crude. 97% of it is an extremely thin sheen of relatively light oil on the surface. I don’t believe that we should retreat on offshore drilling”.

    From Cockburn on this speech: “This carefree comparison of BP’s spill to the glow of French polish on a Sheraton side table is what the oil industry has purchased from Landrieu, with almost $600,000 in campaign contributions”.

    Incredibly, the Republicans are even worse.

  6. wag says:

    The proper way to respond to these “allegations” is not to answer them directly (e.g. Obama had only a small percentage of campaign contributions from BP), but rather to turn it back on Palin. Really? The most oil soaked, “drill baby drill,” half-term governor in the US is really going to accuse someone else of being influenced by oil? Please.

  7. Chris Dudley says:

    The Obama campaign got about 2.8 million for the Energy/Natural Resources sector and his more oil more coal policy seems to be congruent with that.

    [JR: Well, he took in $800 million, so I think you’re gonna have to do better than that. What I can’t tell is who gave what. Many of these utilities wanted climate action, after all.]

  8. Chris Dudley says:

    Joe in (#6),

    Let’s not forget who payed for the debates as well. There are lots of ways that fossil fuel industries get their hooks in. And, they gave McCain more money than Obama but we end up with more coal and more oil in the end.

  9. Andy says:

    Meanwhile Rep. Gov. Bobby Jindal keeps asking to dredge sand islands/berms. This is an unworkable solution. I think he is building up an excuse for BP and means for putting the blame on Obama. It’s all BS. Once the blow-out happened, environmental damage was inevitable.

    [JR: You have any links to why it is unworkable?]

  10. Chris Dudley says:

    Joe, that photo is just cute as a button :(

  11. Lore says:

    It’s no secret Caribou Barbie is a paid shill for extreme right-wing, libertarian anarchist views. There are no sides of the coin that she can’t flip to when need be. Obama needs to quit doing his Marvin the Martian routine; “Mutiny makes me sooooo angry”, and show some real anger and determination about the problem. I fear however that taking full ownership of the situation however will only go to show just how impotent the government is about what’s going on since the technology to immediately repair the damage is clearly beyond the scope of anyone to handle. This can be the only excuse for the delay.

  12. dhogaza says:

    Best photo of Caribou Barbie ever …

  13. catman306 says:

    There’s an e-petition at Repower America:

    Dear BP CEO Tony Hayward,
    We demand that BP make public all data that would help scientists, the government and the public understand how much oil is flowing into the Gulf and how best to respond to it. We have the right to know what’s happening to our oceans, air and coastlines.

  14. Mike says:

    Her husband was a BP employee for 20 years, no?

  15. BobSmith says:

    *cough* OMG LOL, WTFRACK is she wearing for mascerra? Oil?

    I’d like to know what she was saying when this pic was taken…
    …it’s priceless.

  16. Rockfish says:

    Sorry, but I don’t buy the infantile “but he took more than me” blame game. Oh , it was “only” a few hundred $K? If you took ANY oil money you are considered bought. Plain and simple.

  17. Karen S. says:

    Ironic that the expression most worn behind closed doors by Palin as Governor was caught in the out-of-doors. Ironic also that blatant manipulation of the news is so, well… blatant. Fox News just edited out the applause at Obama’s West Point speech. O Media Fairness Doctrine, I miss you.

    What’s next, Haley Barbour starring in a Gulf remake of “Endless Summer”? Oh wait, make that “Endless Bummer.”

  18. Mike #22 says:

    According to Palin, Obama is also “palling around with terrorists” and planning “death panels”. Serial liar.

  19. mike roddy says:

    dhogaza, Bob Smith, and Chris Dudley:

    Reliable reports say that someone was criticizing her outfit right before that photo was taken.