Oil industry throwing millions at congressional elections

The World

With tar balls still fouling Gulf coastlines and vitriol aimed at BP Executive Tony Hayward, the oil industry doesn’t have many friends in Washington. But while members of Congress may not be taking photos with oil execs, they are taking their money. This election cycle is on track to set a record for contributions from the oil and gas industry. With big energy issues on the docket and the oil industry’s image taking a serious hit from the Gulf, the oil industry is eager to change minds and exert influence. That means spending big money. $14 million has been contributed to campaigns so far, and the number is expected to rise to almost $20 million by November. That’s according to the sleuths and number crunchers at The Center for Responsive Politics, a group that analyzes campaign contributions for signs of influence.

We talk to the CRP’s Dave Levinthal about where the millions are coming from, and what money can — and can’t — buy.

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