BP's Growing Presence in Washington

Bloomberg reports this morning that the oil giant BP has hired the Republican lobbying firm Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock, adding a few more lobbyists to its already strong stable of K Street powerbrokers.

Let’s follow the money:

  • In the 2010 cycle, firm employees (which consist mostly of former Hill and White House staffers) donated $180,776 to federal candidates and political committees, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
  • According to Political Party Time, the firm’s lobbyists have held fundraisers in the past year for Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Sen. John Barrasso’s (R-Wy.) PAC, Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), and others.
  • According to the Bloomberg article, “A BP political committee gave federal candidates $71,500 for the 2010 election, with $35,000 donated to Republicans. BP was the 27th-largest donor among oil and gas companies and trade associations.”

The confluence of special interests and lobbyist influence isn’t really new to any of our regular readers, but all of this seems especially interesting with House Energy Committee Chairman Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) expected to introduce legislation this week to gut the Clean Air Act and the power of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In fact, energy interests spent $58 million total in the 2010 cycle, with 68 percent going to Republicans and 30 percent to Democrats.

Energy and environmental issues will be important in the 112th Congress--we'll just have to wait and see what role these big contributions play.