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Political Contributions (Bribes) to McCain from Big Oil Skyrocketed

Political Contributions (Bribes) to McCain from Big Oil Skyrocketed

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Published by: Protect Florida's Beaches on Jul 09, 2010
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IT’S A GUSHER

As John McCain Fights For Big Oil, They Open Their Wallets
July 31, 2008

IT’S A GUSHER

“This is worse than a dumb idea. It is cruelly misleading. It will make only a modest difference, at best, to prices at the pump, and even then the benefits will be years away. It greatly exaggerates America's leverage over world oil prices. It is based on dubious statistics. It diverts the public from the tough decisions that need to be made about conservation.”1 --The New York Times, June 19, 2008

“Rushing to lease offshore areas won't do much to lower world prices, but it will provide oil companies a valuable entitlement to the public resource. Once the areas are leased, there will be no way to halt drilling - regardless of how dangerous to the shoreline - without compensating the lease holder. McCain, who prides himself on being brutally honest, is misleading voters by suggesting ending the moratorium will save them money or ease the nation's energy needs.”2 --The Tampa Tribune, June 19, 2008

1 2

“A Big Pander to Big Oil,” The New York Times, June 19, 2008. “McCain Makes False Promises With New Oil-Drilling Stand,” The Tampa Tribune, June 19, 2008.

Campaign Money Watch

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SUMMARY
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has received a lot of attention in the past few months for his oil policies, which include temporarily suspending the federal gas tax and opening up the continental shelf for oil drilling. To show his commitment, he has even scheduled campaign events on and in front of oil derricks. Garnering far less attention is how closely tied McCain’s campaign is to the oil and gas industries, and how those industries have amply rewarded him – especially since June, when he started making these policies a leading part of his domestic agenda. New research by Campaign Money Watch, which reviewed data filed with the Federal Election Commission as well as data provided by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, shows just how far embedded the oil industry is in McCain’s campaign: • In Texas alone, June oil and gas-connected donations to McCain’s Victory ’08 Fund, his hybrid fundraising venture with the RNC and state committees, reached $1,214,100.3 Of that total, $881,450, or 73 percent, came after June 15. McCain announced his position in favor of offshore drilling on June 16.4 All over the country, oil industry donors wrote large checks to the joint fundraising account in the wake of the reversal on drilling policy. Oil executives and their spouses from Colorado, Mississippi, Louisiana, California, Indiana, and Florida gave donations between $5,000 and $100,000. The major outpouring of donations outside of Texas came from oil giant Hess, whose executives and family members from New York and New Jersey gave $285,000 within a week of McCain’s Texas swing, with ten donors all maxing out to the RNC with identical $28,500 donations. These new totals dwarf his previous fundraising from the industry. From 1989 through May 2008, John McCain had raised more than $1.3 million from the oil and gas industries, and 33 McCain staffers and fundraisers have received a total of $9.65 million in lobbying fees from the same sectors. So committed are the oil and gas industries to McCain’s campaign that they have given him more than twice as much money in the 2008 cycle than in all other cycles since 1989.

3

Campaign Money Watch reviewed campaign finance data filed with the Federal Election Commission to analyze donors to the McCain Victory Fund ‘08. Additional campaign finance and lobbying figures are based on Campaign Money Watch analysis of data obtained from the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan organization that tracks and codes campaign finance data by industry and tracks lobbying. Campaign finance data include individual contributions ($200+) and from Political Action Committees (PACs) to campaign committees and leadership PACs. Data for the 2008 cycle were downloaded in June 2008. 4 “McCain Wants to Lift Ban on Offshore Drilling,” CNN.com, June 17, 2008. http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/06/17/mccain.energy/, accessed July 28, 2008.

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This report is broken down into four parts: 1) an analysis of oil industry contributions McCain received before June 2008, 2) money McCain and the Republican National Committee raised in Texas in June while McCain was reversing his position, 3) Big Oil money raised in the wake of the reversal outside of Texas, and 4) the Big Oil lobbyists aiding McCain’s campaign.

BEFORE JUNE 2008: PRELUDE TO THE GUSHER
McCain has received more than twice as much money from the oil and gas industry in the 2008 cycle than in all other cycles since 1989, and seven times what he raised from the industry in his last presidential run in 2000.

From 1989 through May 2008, John McCain had raised more than $1.3 million dollars from the oil and gas industries5 • Employees and PACs of oil and gas companies have donated $1,316,145 to John McCain’s campaigns and leadership PAC since 1989.

5

Campaign finance and lobbying figures are based on Campaign Money Watch analysis of data obtained from the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan organization that tracks and codes campaign finance data by industry and tracks lobbying. Campaign finance data include individual contributions ($200+) and from Political Action Committees (PACs) to campaign committees and leadership PACs. Data for the 2008 cycle were downloaded in June 2008. See http://www.opensecrets.org.

Campaign Money Watch

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IT’S A GUSHER

McCain has received substantial donations from employees and PACs of some of the country’s largest oil and gas companies, including Exxon Mobil and Chevron. Company Hess Corp Exxon Mobil Chevron Corp Moncrief Oil International Southwest Gas Employees and PACs Gave McCain $63,400 $41,251 $28,800 $18,300 $18,250

DRILLING FOR DOLLARS: A TEXAS DONATION GUSHER IN JUNE
Since June 16, when McCain publicly announced his support for offshore oil drilling, campaign contributions from the oil and gas industries have skyrocketed • In Texas alone, June oil and gas-connected donations to McCain’s Victory ’08 Fund, his hybrid fundraising venture with the RNC and state committees, reached $1,214,100.6 Of that total, $881,450, or 73 percent, came after June 15. McCain announced his position in favor of offshore drilling on June 16.7

At least 85 Texas-based donors connected to the oil and gas industries made contributions to McCain’s Victory ’08 Fund in June. They include: Hushang Ansary (gave $30,800; spouse Shahla Ansary also gave $30,800) • Ansary is chairman of Stewart & Stevenson, a Houston-based manufacturer and provider of equipment to the oil and gas industries. Their services include oil well drilling and maintenance.8 He is also chairman of the Parman Group, a Houston-based global investment enterprise with extensive interests in oilfield equipment manufacturing.9 Ansary is deeply involved in Republican politics. He is a trustee of the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation and served on the President’s Council of

• •

6
7

This analysis includes donations of $5,000 or more to the McCain Victory Fund ’08 joint fundraising committee made in June.
“McCain Wants to Lift Ban on Offshore Drilling,” CNN.com, June 17, 2008. http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/06/17/mccain.energy/, accessed July 28, 2008. 8 Stewart & Stevenson Website, http://www.ssss.com/About%20SS/, accessed July 28, 2008. 9 NECO Website, http://www.neco.org/awards/recipients/Hansary.html, accessed July 28, 2008.

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IT’S A GUSHER

the Center for Middle East Public Policy at RAND. He also was a member of the national finance committee of the 2000 Bush-Cheney campaign.10 John F. Bookout III ($28,500) • Bookout was chairman of the board, president, and chief executive officer of Kelly Oil and Gas Corporation. At the time of his retirement in June 1988, he was president and chief executive officer of Shell Oil Company and became a member of the supervisory board of directors of Royal Dutch Shell in The Netherlands, serving for five years. More recently, he was a director of McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, until he retired in 2006. He also serves as a director of Tesoro Corporation and, since late 2006, as a senior advisor to First Reserve Corporation, a private equity firm specializing in the energy industry.11 From 1995 to 1997, he served on the board of McDermott International, Inc., a leading worldwide energy services company. Through its majority ownership of J. Ray McDermott, S.A., McDermott International also participates in offshore construction.12

• •

Tucker Bridwell ($14,250) • Bridwell’s “influence is felt coursing through the black veins of the Texas oil industry,” according to one account.13 A former car dealership president, Bridwell is now involved in multi-million dollar oil and gas deals and is president of Mansefeldt Investment Co. and the philanthropic Dian Graves Owen Foundation. He is also a prolific donor to Republican candidates, having been a “Bush pioneer” in the 2000 election, meaning he raised more than $100,000.14 After 25 years in the energy business, he is now on the board of Petrohawk Energy Corporation, which specializes in the acquisition, development, production and exploration of oil and natural gas properties.15

• •

10 11

Ibid. Forbes profile of John F. Bookout III, available at http://www.forbes.com/finance/mktguideapps/personinfo/FromPersonIdPersonTearsheet.jhtml?passedPers onId=1100663, accessed July 28, 2008. 12 “John Bookout Resigns From McDermott International, J. Ray McDermott Boards,” Business Wire, May 16, 1997. 13 ReporterNews, June 25, 2006, http://m.reporternews.com/news/2006/Jun/25/tucker-s-bridwell/, accessed July 29, 2008. 14 Sidney Levesque, “Tucker S. Bridwell,” Abilene Reporter-News, June 25, 2006. 15 Petrohawk Energy Corporation Website, http://www.petrohawk.com/about/bod.aspx, accessed July 28, 2008.

Campaign Money Watch

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IT’S A GUSHER

William Clements ($38,500; spouse Rita Clements gave $28,500) • • • Clements served as Texas’s first Republican governor since Reconstruction, holding office from 1979 to 1983 and again from 1987 to 1991. Prior to entering politics, Clements founded SEDCO, now known as Transocean Sedco Forex, which is the world’s largest offshore drilling company.16 In 1979, shortly after Clements took office, a SEDCO offshore rig suffered the largest blowout in history, catching fire and sinking to the seabed in the Gulf of Mexico. This was the largest single oil spill ever, releasing 3.5 million barrels of oil and creating a slick over 14,000 sq km in size. Damage occurred along a long stretch of Texas coast.17

Richard H. Collins ($10,000) • Collins is a businessman and philanthropist who, according to his biography on his charitable foundation’s website, has “participated in oil and gas drilling ventures,’ “acquired oil and gas properties and energy investment partnerships,” and “served as a director of privately owned energy companies.”18 Last year Collins founded StopHerNow.com, an anti-Hillary Clinton smear website. He has since moved on to Stop-him-now.com, which is dedicated to “saving America from the radical leftist agenda of Barack Obama.”

David Dewhurst ($28,500) • Dewhurst is the lieutenant governor of Texas as well as the founder of Falcon Seaboard Resources, a diversified energy and investments company based in Houston.19 In 1971, Dewhurst worked for the CIA in Bolivia, and was there when Bolivian President Juan José Torres was overthrown by Gen. Hugo Banzer in a bloody coup, one often believed to have been aided by the CIA.20 Prior to serving as lieutenant governor, he was state land commissioner. During his tenure, he was accused of staff cutbacks that undermined the agency's ability to audit oil and gas royalties owed to the state for education.21

16

Subsea Oil & Gas Directory, http://www.subsea.org/company/listdetails.asp?companyID=119, accessed July 28, 2008. 17 Summary of 1979 Sedco Oil Rig Blowout, available at http://home.versatel.nl/the_sims/rig/ixtoc1.htm, accessed July 28, 2008. 18 Today Foundation Website, http://www.todayfoundation.org/organization/leadership_collins.htm, accessed July 28, 2008. 19 Falcon Seaboard Website, http://www.falconseaboard.com/david.html, accessed July 28, 2008. 20 Robert Bryce, “Weird, Spooky, and Rich,” Austin Chronicle, October 18, 2002. 21 Ibid.

Campaign Money Watch

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IT’S A GUSHER

Autry Stephens ($28,500) • • Stephens is the owner of Big Dog, which has 4,000 wells producing about $1.5 million of oil a day.22 Stephens’ successor company, Endeavor Energy Resources, was fined $125,000 in March 2003 by the Texas Railroad Commission, described as “the largest fine in recent history against an oil and gas operator.”23 “From August 30, 1999 to August 31, 2000, Endeavor submitted 250 false production reports indicating total production of one barrel rather than zero, which would have been the truth. Many of the leases were incapable of producing. While investigating the matter, the Commission found that it was Endeavor company policy not to report zero production for its leases.”

NOT JUST TEXAS: THE OIL INDUSTRY CHEERED AROUND THE NATION WITH BIG CHECKS
A preliminary review of FEC filings exposes major contributions from oil executives and their spouses from at least eight other states in the few days following McCain’s reversal. They include: • • • • • Gary and Carolyn Chouest ($100,000) from Louisiana. Gary Chouest is the CEO of Edison Chouest Offshore. Stephen Chazen ($5,000) from California. Chazen works for Occidental Petroleum. Frederic Hamilton ($39,300) from Colorado. Hamilton is the CEO of Hamilton Oil Company. Onajite Okoloko ($30,000) from Florida. Okoloko is the CEO of Ocean and Oil Services. Rich and Ann Calhoon ($71,600) from Mississippi. Rich Calhoon is the CEO of Pruet Oil.

In the eight days following the reversal, ten Hess Oil executives or family members from New York and New Jersey made $28,500 in contributions, totaling $285,000.

22 23

Ginia Bellafante, “Workers of an Extreme World, One Beyond Classes,” New York Times, June 18, 2008. Press Release, “RRC Bags Bad Operator, Begins New Era of Strong Enforcement,” Texas Railroad Commission, March 2003

Campaign Money Watch

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IT’S A GUSHER

LOBBYISTS FROM BIG OIL HELPING MCCAIN
Thirty-three McCain staffers and fundraisers have received $19.3 million in lobbying fees from at least 30 oil and gas industry corporations and associations • • • These lobbying clients’ executives and PACs have donated $225,651 to McCain’s campaigns. The four top oil lobbyists on the McCain campaign have been paid $11,475,000 to lobby on behalf of the oil and gas industries. Details about the oil lobbyists on McCain’s campaign can be found in the Addendum at the end of this report

Many of the oil companies whose executives and PACs have donated the most to John McCain have been represented in Washington by lobbyists working on the McCain campaign24 Oil Company Hess Corp Exxon Mobil Chevron Corp Occidental Petroleum Contributions to McCain since 1989 $63,400 $41,251 $28,800 $18,050 Wayne Berman, John Green, Richard Hohlt Charles Black, James Hyland, Steven R. Phillips Lobbyists Working on McCain Campaign Wayne Berman, John Green Kerry Cammack, Frank Donatelli

The four top oil lobbyists on the McCain campaign have been paid $11,475,000 to lobby on behalf of the oil and gas industries. They include: Wayne Berman • Berman is one of John McCain’s top bundlers, as he has raised at least $500,000 for McCain’s presidential campaign.25

24

Campaign finance and lobbying figures are based on Campaign Money Watch analysis of data obtained from the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan organization that tracks and codes campaign finance data by industry and tracks lobbying. Campaign finance data include individual contributions ($200+) and from Political Action Committees (PACs) to campaign committees and leadership PACs. Data for the 2008 cycle were downloaded in June 2008. 25 McCain campaign website, http://www.johnmccain.com/Informing/fundraisers.htm, accessed July 22, 2008.

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• •

Since 2004 Berman has earned $3,170,000 lobbying for four major petroleum companies, including oil giants Chevron Corp and Hess Corp. Federal records show that in 2005, when the Senate voted to allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Berman was employed as a lobbyist by Chevron Corp, Amerada Hess Corp, and the American Petroleum Institute. Berman was registered as a Chevron lobbyist in December 2005 when the oil giant became the first company to refuse to participate in an oil spill drill.26 Less than three months later, in February 2006, Chevron spilled 31,000 gallons of crude oil just off the New Jersey coast.27 In 2007, while Berman lobbied for Chevron, the company reported its highestever yearly profit of $18.7 billion, despite record high prices at the pump.28 Berman’s lobbying clients from the oil and gas industries have donated $105,300 to McCain’s campaigns since 1990.29

• •

Charlie Black • Black is John McCain’s chief political adviser and chairman of BKSH and Associates, a major Washington lobbying firm.30 Black’s wife, Judy, is a top bundler for McCain, as she has raised at least $500,000 for his campaign.31 Since 2001 Black has received $1,725,000 to lobby for three major oil companies, including Occidental Petroleum and the Russian company Yukos Oil. Senate disclosure records show that in 2005, when the Senate voted to allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Black was employed as a lobbyist by Occidental Petroleum, the fourth largest U.S. oil and gas company.32 Black was hired in May 2004 to lobby for Yukos Oil, months after the company’s founder, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, was arrested on charges of fraud and tax evasion.33

• •

26 27

Craig Welch, “Chevron Refuses To Do Oil-Spill Exercise,” The Seattle Times, December 14, 2006. Gabriel Madway, “Chevron Estimates Oil Spill Off N.J. Coast at 31K Gallons,” MarketWatch, February 13, 2006. 28 David Baker, “Chevron Posts Record $18.7 Billion Profit,” San Francisco Chronicle, February 2, 2008. 29 Campaign finance and lobbying figures are based on Campaign Money Watch analysis of data obtained from the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan organization that tracks and codes campaign finance data by industry and tracks lobbying. Campaign finance data include individual contributions ($200+) and from Political Action Committees (PACs) to campaign committees and leadership PACs. Data for the 2008 cycle were downloaded in June 2008. 30 Michael D. Shear and Jeffrey H. Birnbaum, “The Anti-Lobbyist, Advised by Lobbyists,” Washington Post, February 22, 2008. 31 McCain campaign website, http://www.johnmccain.com/Informing/fundraisers.htm, accessed July 22, 2008. 32 Senate lobbying disclosure database, accessed July 22, 2008.

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In 2003, while Black was employed as a lobbyist for Occidental Petroleum, soldiers guarding the company’s pipeline in Columbia killed three local labor leaders. These leaders were falsely said to have ties to guerilla groups that attacked Occidental pipelines. Occidental employees were also responsible for giving incorrect coordinates to Columbian military pilots in 1998, resulting in the deaths of 18 civilians after a village located near an Occidental pipeline was hit by cluster bombs.34 Black’s lobbying clients from the oil and gas industries have donated $18,550 to McCain’s campaigns since 1990.35

John Green • Green is McCain’s congressional liaison, coordinating efforts between the McCain campaign and Republicans in the House and Senate.36 Green has also raised between $50,000 and $100,000 for the McCain campaign.37 Since 2002 Green has been paid $3,450,000 to lobby for four major oil and gas companies, including oil giants Chevron Corp and Hess Corp. Senate disclosure records show that in 2005, when the Senate voted to allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Green was employed as a lobbyist by Chevron Corp, Amerada Hess Corp, and the American Petroleum Institute. In 2007, while Green lobbied for Chevron, the company reported its highest-ever yearly profit of $18.7 billion, despite record high prices at the pump.38 Over the last seven years, Green’s lobbying firm has been paid $1,430,000 by the American Petroleum Institute. According to a recent House committee investigative report, the API successfully persuaded the Bush administration against regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, despite support from many officials for these actions.39

• •

• •

33

Robyn Dixon, “Putin Reassures Jittery Investors, Defends Arrest of Tycoon,” Los Angeles Times, October 28, 2003. 34 Larry Rohter, “McCain Heads Today for Columbia, Where Adviser Has Long Had Ties,” New York Times, July 1, 2008. 35 Campaign finance and lobbying figures are based on Campaign Money Watch analysis of data obtained from the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan organization that tracks and codes campaign finance data by industry and tracks lobbying. Campaign finance data include individual contributions ($200+) and from Political Action Committees (PACs) to campaign committees and leadership PACs. Data for the 2008 cycle were downloaded in June 2008. 36 Martin Kady II and Patrick O’Connor, “Lobbyist to Run McCain’s Hill Effort,” Politico, March 4, 2008. 37 McCain campaign website, http://www.johnmccain.com/Informing/fundraisers.htm, accessed July 22, 2008. 38 David Baker, “Chevron Posts Record $18.7 Billion Profit,” San Francisco Chronicle, February 2, 2008. 39 “Newsroom Notes; Markey: Big Oil Slowed GHG Rule,” EnergyWashington Week, July 23, 2008.

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Green’s lobbying clients from the oil and gas industries have donated $106,050 to McCain’s campaigns since 1990.40

Steven R. Phillips • • • Phillips is a McCain bundler who has raised between $100,000 and $250,000 for the campaign.41 Since 1999 Phillips has been paid $3,130,000 to lobby for major oil and gas interests, including BP and Irving Oil. Senate disclosure records show that in 2005, when the Senate voted to allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Phillips was employed as a lobbyist by Chevron Corp, Amerada Hess Corp, and the American Petroleum Institute. Phillips’ lobbying clients in the oil and gas industries have donated $40,950 to McCain’s campaigns since 1990.42

40

Campaign finance and lobbying figures are based on Campaign Money Watch analysis of data obtained from the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan organization that tracks and codes campaign finance data by industry and tracks lobbying. Campaign finance data include individual contributions ($200+) and from Political Action Committees (PACs) to campaign committees and leadership PACs. Data for the 2008 cycle were downloaded in June 2008. 41 McCain campaign website, http://www.johnmccain.com/Informing/fundraisers.htm, accessed July 22, 2008. 42 Campaign finance and lobbying figures are based on Campaign Money Watch analysis of data obtained from the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan organization that tracks and codes campaign finance data by industry and tracks lobbying. Campaign finance data include individual contributions ($200+) and from Political Action Committees (PACs) to campaign committees and leadership PACs. Data for the 2008 cycle were downloaded in June 2008.

Campaign Money Watch

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