Oil Cash and Lobbyists Come Ashore in Gulf States - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Oil Cash and Lobbyists Come Ashore in Gulf States

Helena, Mont.—As BP and the federal government work to contain the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, some people in the Gulf states are seeking legislative action in an attempt to prevent future oil spills. Florida Governor Charlie Crist, for example, has floated the idea of a special legislative session to constitutionally ban oil drilling off the coast of Florida.

Any such state efforts might well encounter resistance from legislators, though, since oil and gas companies and their employees gave more than $21 million to state lawmakers, party committees and ballot measure committees  in the Gulf states from 2003 through 2008. A new report <http://www.followthemoney.org/press/ReportView.phtml?r=430&em=95>  from the National Institute on Money in State Politics examined the contributions and lobbying efforts of these entities.

Texas received the vast majority of the oil and gas contributions, at $16.7 million. Members of the Texas Railroad Commission, which issues permits for oil and gas drilling and regulates the industry, received $2.6 million from oil and gas companies and employees.

Other states in the region received substantial contributions:

  • Louisiana — $2.2 million
  • Mississippi — $1.3 million
  • Florida — $686,210
  • Alabama — $348,450

The largest contributors from the industries were T. Boone Pickens and his wife, Madeleine, who gave $1.4 million.

Oil and gas companies didn't stop their political work at campaign contributions. They also hired a substantial lobbying presence--627 lobbyists--from 2006 through 2008 (the only years that the Institute had lobbyist data).  Once again, Texas was at the head of the pack, with 276 paid lobbyists. Texas was followed by Louisiana's 145 lobbyists, Florida's 117, Alabama's 74, and Mississippi's 15.

The nonprofit, nonpartisan National Institute on Money in State Politics     collects and analyzes campaign contribution information on  state-level   candidates, political party committees, and ballot   committees. Its  free,  searchable database of contributions, as well as the full text of the  report <http://www.followthemoney.org/press/ReportView.phtml?r=430&em=95>  is available online at FollowTheMoney.org.

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