May 3rd, 2010
05:36 PM ET
12 years ago

BP is active player in DC money game

[cnn-photo-caption image=
caption="BP spent almost $16 million lobbying Congress in 2009 and over $3.5 million so far this year, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics (CRP)."]

Washington (CNN) - Congress is demanding answers in its investigation of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill - and the BP executives likely to be grilled in the weeks ahead are no strangers to the ways of Washington.

The company spent almost $16 million lobbying Congress in 2009 and over $3.5 million so far this year, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics (CRP).

BP employees also gave over $3 million in campaign contributions during the last decade, and almost $110,000 in 2010.

Fifty-seven percent of BP's contributions went to Republicans, while 43 percent went to Democrats.

BP America President Lamar McKay has been asked to appear next week before the House Energy and Commerce Committee - whose members received the largest share of BP's campaign contributions over the last two election cycles, CRP notes.

The congressional investigation comes as BP's ruptured undersea well off Louisiana continues to spew about 210,000 gallons - or 5,000 barrels - of crude a day into the Gulf of Mexico. Efforts to corral the rapidly growing oil spill have so far been unsuccessful.

There is currently a sheen of oil ranging up to 60 miles across and threatening the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, as well as the Florida Panhandle, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The overall area impacted by the spill, CNN estimates, is almost as large as the state of Delaware.

An April 20 explosion on BP contractor Transocean Ltd.'s Deepwater Horizon drilling platform left 11 men presumed dead.

- CNN's Dana Bash and Alan Silverleib contributed to this report

Filed under: Congress
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Victim of GOP Taliban

    The Republican Party has become the official spokespeople of the Big Oil Lobby. Teddy Roosevelt would be ashamed of his party today.

    May 3, 2010 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  2. Hows that oil slick coming along drillers?

    Its time to nationalize these companies.

    May 3, 2010 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  3. El Kababa

    Let all the "free market" lunatics take note: a foreign oil corporation which is drilling in US offshore waters spent $16,000,000 lobbying our elected officials in Congress. That is about $30,000 per Congressman.

    This is the new global free market. Corporations prefer paying elected officials to pass friendly laws to obeying the laws. The Libertarian ethic is that the only values are accounting values. Bribing a Congressman to pass a bad law is cheaper than obeying a fair law. This is what is meant when Conservatives want to remove burdensome "government regulations" from free enterprise. They mean safety regulations, antipollution regulations, and other regulations that protect the earth and people on it.

    Could this same well have been drilled and put into production with no disaster? I suspect so. Could wiser regulations have been put in place? Surely. Could inspectors and regulators have prevented this? Maybe. Would BP have paid Congressmen to NOT include such regulations in the law? What do you think they were paying for?

    May 3, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  4. Marie (Portland, Oregon)

    Transocean Ltd is the one who should be grilled. They own and operate the platform and are responsible for its maintenance. BP may pick up the tab but Transocean needs to be held accountable for this mishap as well as the manufacturer of the valve that failed to shut off the overflow.

    As for BP spending millions lobbying Washington...this is not news. All of the oil companies do the same. Fact is that there is a huge money trail that leads to DC from all segments of American business...its called the "cost of doing business" in the capitalist marketplace.

    May 3, 2010 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  5. aproudmemberoftheunpatrioticmob

    53% went to republicans, we can now see why Obama is blaming them rather than pleading their cause.

    May 3, 2010 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  6. Neaderthal Republicans

    These so called grillings are MEANINGLESS. Congress is impotent.

    May 3, 2010 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |

    Why isn't someone investigating OBAMA and his 2 billion dollar loan to one of his campaign contributors to drill offshore of Brazil. Not only that the U.S. is not scheduled to get any of this oil. China is due to get every drop. CONGRESS IMPEACH THIS CROOK NOW.

    May 3, 2010 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  8. Meka

    And, Who do we have to THANK for this?

    May 3, 2010 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  9. LacrosseMom (the real one)

    Wasn't it just a couple of summers ago when at the REPUBLICAN CONVENTION, PEOPLE CHANTED "DRILL, BABY, DRILL!" ????????

    Sure is quiet on the GOP side! We can not continue to consume oil as we have been. The risk to our very existence is too great! Wake up!

    1. Using oil helps Iran make money, money it will use to build nuclear weapons.

    2. Continuing to guzzle oil as we do, means that there will be plenty of money for terrorists in the Middle East.

    3. Continuing to guzzle oil as we do, will ensure more disasters like the one we are watching in the Gulf of Mexico!

    4. The Red states down South are sure SEEING the effects of the environmental disaster that we, Tree Huggers, have been warning everyone about!

    5. Fishing is being destroyed and with it countless American jobs!


    May 3, 2010 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  10. Four and The Door

    Of course BP has a significant lobbying effort there. Washington politicians make a lot of decisions regarding the energy industry. BP would be remiss in its obligations to its shareholders, employees and suppliers if it did not stay active in this way.

    However, with mid-term elections coming up and now this mess, we can expect the contributions to Democrats to increase sharply and this will certainly soften the net effect of this disaster on the financial impact to the company. Watch closely how this works.

    May 3, 2010 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  11. Allen in Hartwell GA

    It is obvious that campaign laws need to be changed so that only individuals can contribute money to anyone running for office.
    First of all, no company should be able to use profits from money that is invested with them to do something that the investors might not approve.
    Second, neither companies nor any group of people should be allowed to give money to or spend money on an election. We vote as individuals, and we should only contribute or show support as individuals. I'm tired of all the PACs, etc., acting like they really care about me.

    May 3, 2010 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  12. Ken in NC

    Well now BP Oil has pulled a GO TO JAIL Card. Do not pass GO and DO NOT COLLECT $200,000,000,000.00.

    May 3, 2010 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  13. Ethan

    "Fifty-seven percent of BP's contributions went to Republicans, while 43 percent went to Democrats."

    Republicans are OWNED by big industries like energy. Massey Coal. BP. Exxon. Etc.


    May 3, 2010 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  14. Darko

    Our US govt (once again) botched the plan that specifically was created in 1994 to deal with a spill of this magnitude. Special booms used to capture and burn the oil before it spreads was given 'PRE-APPROVAL'. So why did we need well over a week 'test' this plan? (after it had been tested many times prior)

    They realized they didn't have any of the booms on hand...anywhere! The manufacturer had ONE in stock and we also tried to borrow some from other countries.

    BP is on the hook for the incident, but don't think Obama's Federal response is anything to be proud of. This makes Bush's Katrina response look smart and swift...

    May 3, 2010 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  15. Chuck Anaheim, Ca

    You did not have to print what the entire world already saw. The party of "NO" has been in the hip pocket of big oil, big coal and offshore comapnies for decades. Now they, guys like gov of La., that rail against government regulations on anything are trying to point their crooked finger at the...government. You get what you ask for, little or no regulation and allow the corporation to police itself. Now BP will shirk it's resposiblity as soon as they can sticking the taxpayer with the bill.

    May 3, 2010 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Giving money gets then access. It is up to the individual recipient to do what is right thereafter.
    Whether its Wall st, Main St or a fortune 500- donationg is the right of everyone to see that people they feel will think their way are elected.

    May 3, 2010 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  17. Mountaineer

    How much does anyone want to bet that BP goes to Washington to cash in on all that contribution cash they gave members of Congress. This is where those contributions come into play! Let's see what the Republicans do when legislation comes up to make BP pay for the billions lost due to their oil drilling.

    May 3, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  18. billybob 'n NC

    CNN: "and the BP executives likely to be grilled in the weeks ahead are no strangers to the ways of Washington"

    Now, there is some shocking news. I don't think anyone would have thought that.

    May 3, 2010 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  19. Real American

    Drill, baby, drill! It's justice that this will foul the coasts of people who support this sort of thing in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. This is divine retribution to the Red States on the Gulf for voting for Republicans and the other lapdogs of the oil companies. What is the ratio of what BP spent on buying politicians versus what it will cost to clean this mess up and the damage to fishing, tourism, and other industries on the Gulf?

    May 3, 2010 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  20. If We Can Defeat Him On Health Care It Will Be His Waterloo

    BP: Beyond Pollution
    BP: Buying Politicians
    BP: Biggest Polluter

    May 3, 2010 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |