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. Yesterday on Fox News Sunday yesterday, 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. 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 “overplay their hand on this issue.”
Media Matters notes that Obama did not take any money from BP’s PAC during his run for president. All of his donations came from BP employees.