GOP Senators Leave Interior Post Empty But Fill Campaign Coffers With Big Oil Money

May 14, 2009

WASHINGTON, May 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — In a nod to the oil and gas industry, Republican Senators voted against cloture on the nomination of David J. Hayes to be Deputy Interior Secretary. A Public Campaign Action Fund analysis of campaign finance data found that the 38 Senators who voted against the nominee received more than four times the amount of donations, on average, from Big Oil than those Senators who voted for him — $456,757 compared to $110,696.

Senate Republicans conceded they have no problem with the Hayes nomination but wanted to send a message to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and the Obama administration that they are still fuming from Salazar’s decision to end oil and gas leases in Utah. In an almost party line vote, Democrats, absent three members, couldn’t muster the 60 votes needed to bring the nomination to a final confirmation vote. In a procedural move, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) switched his vote to no so that he could bring the matter back up next week when Hayes is expected to be confirmed.

“This vote was purely symbolic and Republicans in the Senate wanted to deliver a message to the Administration on behalf of their Big Oil donors that they’re looking out for political contributors,” commented David Donnelly, national campaigns director of Public Campaign Action Fund. “Americans have had enough and want to end the pay-to-play system that has dominated our Congress. All Senators should follow the lead of Sens. Dick Durbin and Arlen Specter and support the Fair Elections Now Act. This important bill will end big money’s dominance and make elections about voters, not big money donors.”

Public Campaign Action Fund’s analysis found that just five Senators who voted “no” — Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — received approximately $1.6 million more in campaign contributions over their career than all 61 Senators who supported the nomination — including those absent from the vote — and confirmation vote, according to data compiled from the Center for Responsive Politics’ website. The analysis did not include newly appointed Senators in the averages who have not previously run for federal office. A full list of Senators and their total campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry follows this release.

The Fair Elections Now Act was introduced by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) and Reps. John Larson (D-Conn.) and Walter Jones (R-N.C.) on March 31, 2009. It would establish a system of small dollar contributions and public financing for congressional campaigns, freeing candidates from taking special interest dollars and the expectations that often accompany them.

Based in Washington, D.C., Public Campaign Action Fund is a national non-profit non-partisan organization dedicated to sweeping campaign reform laws and holding politicians accountable.

    Senators Who Voted Yes   Oil/Gas Money
    Akaka (D-HI)                $33,500
    Baucus (D-MT)              $277,715
    Bayh (D-IN)                $130,998
    Begich (D-AK)               $28,850
    Bennet (D-CO)                   N/A
    Bingaman (D-NM)            $402,529
    Boxer (D-CA)                $21,075
    Brown (D-OH)                $52,400
    Burris (D-IL)                   N/A
    Byrd (D-WV)                 $65,250
    Cantwell (D-WA)             $30,000
    Cardin (D-MD)               $55,400
    Carper (D-DE)               $58,960
    Casey (D-PA)                $44,650
    Conrad (D-ND)              $267,003
    Dodd (D-CT)                $117,383
    Dorgan (D-ND)               $92,468
    Durbin (D-IL)               $62,550
    Feingold (D-WI)             $14,996
    Feinstein (D-CA)           $158,375
    Gillibrand (D-NY)            $6,418
    Hagan (D-NC)                $11,050
    Harkin (D-IA)              $175,186
    Inouye (D-HI)               $43,000
    Johnson (D-SD)              $88,506
    Kaufman (D-DE)                  N/A
    Klobuchar (D-MN)             $4,250
    Kohl (D-WI)                    $300
    Kyl (R-AZ)                 $320,882
    Landrieu (D-LA)            $694,044
    Lautenberg (D-NJ)           $88,300
    Leahy (D-VT)                 $9,250
    Levin (D-MI)                $92,244
    Lieberman (ID-CT)          $177,800
    Lincoln (D-AR)             $268,375
    McCaskill (D-MO)            $29,850
    Menendez (D-NJ)             $83,450
    Merkley (D-OR)               $2,000
    Murray (D-WA)               $41,400
    Nelson (D-FL)               $58,900
    Nelson (D-NE)              $147,955
    Pryor (D-AR)               $137,900
    Reed (D-RI)                 $12,350
    Rockefeller (D-WV)         $289,650
    Sanders (I-VT)               $4,550
    Schumer (D-NY)             $166,851
    Shaheen (D-NH)              $19,525
    Snowe (R-ME)               $119,554
    Specter (D-PA)             $436,128
    Stabenow (D-MI)             $26,850
    Tester (D-MT)                $7,200
    Udall (D-CO)                $68,210
    Udall (D-NM)               $118,500
    Warner (D-VA)               $49,350
    Webb (D-VA)                 $11,000
    Whitehouse (D-RI)           $19,050
    Wyden (D-OR)                $78,600

    Switched Vote
    Reid (D-NV)                $265,736

    Senators Not Voting
    Kennedy (D-MA)             $136,901
    Kerry (D-MA)               $407,090
    Mikulski (D-MD)             $45,060

    Senators Who Voted No
    Alexander (R-TN)           $392,775
    Barrasso (R-WY)            $162,250
    Bennett (R-UT)             $202,165
    Bond (R-MO)                $446,310
    Brownback (R-KS)           $387,839
    Bunning (R-KY)             $311,456
    Burr (R-NC)                $348,652
    Chambliss (R-GA)           $343,642
    Coburn (R-OK)              $349,062
    Cochran (R-MS)             $226,235
    Collins (R-ME)             $168,293
    Corker (R-TN)              $280,100
    Cornyn (R-TX)            $1,494,825
    Crapo (R-ID)               $227,199
    DeMint (R-SC)              $134,588
    Ensign (R-NV)              $400,524
    Enzi (R-WY)                $298,400
    Graham (R-SC)              $119,525
    Grassley (R-IA)            $152,300
    Gregg (R-NH)                $87,405
    Hatch (R-UT)               $241,479
    Hutchison (R-TX)         $2,145,825
    Inhofe (R-OK)            $1,219,173
    Isakson (R-GA)             $146,014
    Johanns (R-NE)              $72,850
    Lugar (R-IN)               $365,754
    Martinez (R-FL)            $168,850
    McCain (R-AZ)            $2,608,364
    McConnell (R-KY)           $838,011
    Murkowski (R-AK)           $220,663
    Risch (R-ID)                $69,800
    Roberts (R-KS)             $394,200
    Sessions (R-AL)            $292,300
    Shelby (R-AL)              $304,300
    Thune (R-SD)               $482,872
    Vitter (R-LA)              $532,135
    Voinovich (R-OH)           $359,329
    Wicker (R-MS)              $361,310

SOURCE Public Campaign Action Fund

Source: newswire

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