On Monday, Will Senators Stand With The 99 Percent Or With Big Oil?

Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is calling for an end to oil tax breaks, with plans for a procedural vote on Monday. While the American public wants an end to the billions of dollars in Big Oil handouts, the latest House Republican budget plan once again delivers massive tax breaks to the richest 1 percent and preserves the huge giveaways to the oil industry.

With gas prices skyrocketing — they reached their highest record in the month of March — and oil companies raking in a record $137 billion in profits in 2011, will the Grand Oil Party stand up for the American families bearing the burden of high gas prices or the oil companies bankrolling their campaign coffers?

The Big Five oil companies made a record $137 billion in profits in 2011 while continuing to benefit from high gas prices

  • The big five oil companies — BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell — combined to make a record-high $137 billion in profits in 2011 — up 75 percent from 2010 — and have made more than $1trillion in profits from 2001 through 2011.
  • Oil companies are reducing the supply of gasoline available for U.S. markets by closing refineries in the East. According to the Energy Information Agency, ConocoPhillips and Sunoco have closed two refineries in the Philadelphia area, with another expected to close later this summer. Additionally, a major Caribbean export refinery that supplies the East Coast closed last year.
  • A recent CAP analysis found that for every penny more consumers pay at the pump Big Oil profits increase by another $200 million.
  • A Congressional Research Service report released in May 2011 found that the repeal of five key oil industry tax breaks would lead to little or no increase of gasoline prices.

Despite claims of the “drill here, drill now” crowd, domestic production of oil is up, domestic demand is down, yet gas prices continue to rise

Big Oil makes record profits, then doles out millions in campaign contributions to Republicans, who then vote to protect Big Oil handouts

  • The big five oil companies — BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell — combined made a record-high $137 billion in profits in 2011.
  • Meanwhile, the oil and gas industry has already contributed over $20 million in federal campaign contributions this election cycle, with 88 percent of all Big Oil contributions going to Republicans.
  • Oil and gas companies spent $146,017,552 on lobbying last year, making them the third-highest spending industry.
  • Last year the Senate failed to end billions of dollars in oil tax breaks by a vote of 52–48, with the Big Oil backers receiving $21 million in career oil contributions compared to the $5.4 million received by those who voted to end these Big Oil handouts.
  • Since 2006 Senate Republicans have taken $13,818,359 from the oil and gas industry compared to the $3,332,251 received by Democrats. On average, Senate Republicans have taken four times the amount in Big Oil contributions of Democrats.
  • Since 2006 the Senate has received $17,240,960 in Big Oil money and $30,116,264 in career contributions, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

Listed below are oil and gas contributions from PACs and individuals giving $200 or more to Senators between the 2006–2012 election cycles and over their career, using data from the Center for Responsive Politics:

Last NameFirst NamePartyStateOil & Gas Since 2006Oil & Gas CareerAkakaDanielDHI 6,800 33,500 AlexanderLamarRTN 159,350 414,550 AyotteKellyRNH 373,418 142,368 BarrassoJohnRWY 409,900 416,650 BaucasMaxDMT 193,800 358,815 BegichMarkD AK 153,705 153,705 BennetMichaelDCO 151,170 137,170 BingamanJeffDNM 130,499 446,440 BlumenthalRichardDCT 8,500 8,500 BluntRoyRMO 363,950 760,598 BoozmanJohnRAR 101,352 141,952 BoxerBarbaraDCA 19,350 40,075 Brown ScottRMA 198,660 198,660 Brown SherrodDOH 14,850 63,250 BurrRichardRNC 234,800 549,852 CantwellMariaDWA 39,666 61,116 CardinBenjaminDMD 39,400 71,900 CarperThomasDDE 48,600 71,060 CaseyBobDPA 103,150 103,150 ChamblissSaxbyRGA 260,300 381,192 CoatsDanielRIn 144,783 348,908 CoburnTomROK 190,400 552,163 CochranThadRMS 94,250 231,485 CollinsSusanRME 83,900 175,643 ConradKentDND 72,150 312,403 CoonsChrisDDE 13,373 13,373 CorkerBobRTN 414,250 462,950 CornynJohnRTX 1,197,275 1,877,550 CrapoMikeRID 94,300 314,689 DeMintJimRSC 149,323 248,389 DurbinRichardDIL 23,100 66,800 EnziMichaelRWY 126,800 305,650 FeinsteinDianneDCA 63,500 179,750 FrankenAlDMN 19,200 19,200 GillibrandKirstenDNY 67,882 74,050 GrahamLindseyRSC 64,150 154,875 GrassleyChuckRIA 132,500 270,050 HaganKayDNC 17,550 17,550 HarkinTomDIA 61,550 189,500 HatchOrrinRUT 310,750 452,425 HellerDeanRNV 122,100 210,050 HoevenJohnRND 263,289 263,289 HutchsionKay BaileyRTX 476,586 2,223,271 InhofeJamesROK 550,350 1,367,523 InouyeDanielDHI 25,850 65,850 IsaksonJohnnyRGA 130,900 248,514 JohannsMikeRNE 82,800 82,800 JohnsonRonRWI 113,950 113,950 JohnsonTimDSD 62,350 127,706 KerryJohnDMA 4,710 407,570 KirkMarkRIL 159,750 207,750 KloboucharAmyDMN 19,716 19,716 KohlHerbDWI — 1,300 KylJonRAZ 145,900 334,332 LandrieuMary L. DLA 492,030 891,574 LautenbergFrankDNJ 40,800 95,900 LeahyPatrickDVT 250 10,250 LeeMikeRUT 50,350 50,350 LevinCarlDMI 23,100 92,844 LiebermanJoI CT 84,850 196,250 LugarRichardRIN 67,600 217,225 ManchinJoeDWV 141,300 141,300 McCainJohnRAZ 2,622,764 2,870,491 McCaskillClaireDMO 55,058 55,058 McConnellMitchRKY 759,450 1,154,011 MenendezRobertDNJ 58,900 118,650 MerkleyJeffDOR 6,500 6,500 MikulskiBarbaraDMD 9,650 47,710 MoranJerryRKS 139,000 385,496 MurkowskiLisaRAK 320,326 533,489 MurrayPattyDWa 21,716 57,366 NelsonBen DNE 217,650 271,555 NelsonBillDFL 56,617 86,117 PaulRandRKY 107,840 106,840 PortmanRobertROH 313,858 323,458 PryorMarkDAR 153,650 183,800 ReedJackDRI 5,200 12,850 ReidHarryDNV 136,550 349,336 RischJamesRID 88,350 88,350 RobertsPatRKS 250,000 429,800 RockefellarJayDWV 73,550 310,250 RubioMarcoRFL 244,034 244,034 SandersBernieI VT 5,500 7,200 SchumerCharlesDNY 64,200 239,551 SessionsJeffRAL 106,200 297,500 ShaheenJeanneDNH 12,300 21,000 ShelbyRichardRAL 50,900 352,700 SnoweOlympiaRME 73,200 173,900 StabenowDebnbieDMI 35,750 54,100 TesterJonDMt 26,400 26,400 ThuneJohnRSD 189,835 649,462 ToomeyPatrickRPA 315,366 362,716 UdallMarkDCO 120,110 169,029 UdallTomDNM 105,329 150,210 VitterDavidRLA 612,850 1,018,685 WarnerMarkDVA 20,400 59,200 WebbJimDVA 26,006 26,006 WhitehouseSheldonDRI 25,550 25,550 WickerRogerRMS 356,400 538,810 WydenRonDOR 43,264 117,864 TOTAL 17,240,960 30,116,264 GOP 13,818,359 23,249,395 Democrats 3,332,251 6,663,419 Independents 90,350 203,450