'Shakedown' Lawmaker Is Big Oil's Darling in US House

Republican Joe Barton, who accused the White House Thursday of a $20 billion "shakedown" of BP, is the biggest recipient of oil and gas money in the House of Representatives.


The 60-year-old Texas lawmaker, who later apologized for using the word "shakedown," has collected at least $1.7 million in political contributions from oil and gas interests over the past two decades, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

Barton, a former oil company consultant, used his seat on the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations to apologize to BP CEO Tony Hayward and castigate the White House for pressing BP to finance a $20 billion fund for damage claims from its Gulf of Mexico oil spill. He also later retracted his apology to the company.

Barton is not the only panel member to receive oil and gas industry largess. All told, the subcommittee has collected more than $4.2 million from the industry and $90,000 from BP.

Following is a list of campaign contributions Barton and other panel members have collected from political action committees and individuals related to BP and the oil industry at large.

The data was compiled from public disclosure records by the Center for Responsive Politics and dates back to 1989, when the research group began tracking money in U.S. politics.

The numbers, which include contributions to lawmakers' political action committees and campaign committees, are probably understated for longer-serving lawmakers such as Barton, who was first elected to Congress five years before the Center began publishing the figures.

Total Oil Industry Contributions to Republicans

George Radanovich $149,638 $4,000
John Sullivan 529,950 4,500
Marsha Blackburn 177,643 1,000
Michael Burgess 226,246 1,000
Phil Gingrey 57,500 2,000
Parker Griffith 36,750 0
Robert Latta 39,250 0
Joe Barton 1,676,930 27,350
SUBTOTALS $2,893,907 $39,850
Center for Responsive Politics

Total Oil Industry Contributions to Democrats

Bart Stupak $ 83,850 $ 7,500
Bruce Braley 0 0
Edward Markey 88,991 0
Diana DeGette 16,200 0
Mike Doyle 100,812 1,250
Jan Schakowsky 4,250 250
Mike Ross 222,050 2,000
Donna Christensen 4,100 0
Peter Welch 11,250 0
Gene Green 375,613 8,000
Betty Sutton 10,000 0
John Dingell 423,091 31,000
Henry Waxman 31,600 0
SUBTOTALS $1,371,807 $50,000
Center for Responsive Politics