The American Petroleum Institute (API), the oil industry’s trade association, held a press call today urging deficit reduction “supercommittee” members to let oil companies “do our thing,” which includes maintaining their wasteful taxpayer subsidies.
Two lobbyists for API have previously served as aides to members of the supercommittee, according to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP).
- Dena Battle, who represents API at lobbying firm Capitol Counsel, served as Rep. Dave Camp’s (R-Mich) legislative director from 1998 to 2002.
- Brian Wild, who represents API at lobbying firm Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti, served as Sen. Pat Toomey’s (R-Pa.) chief-of-staff in the U.S. House from 2001 to 2004.
The six Republicans on the panel have all voted in 2011 to keep these wasteful subsidies in place. In total, the 12 supercommittee members have received over $2.4 million in campaign cash from oil and gas interests, according to CRP.
This is why it's so important that committee members give up fundraising and provide complete transparency of meetings with lobbyists, corporate CEOs, or campaign donors. The work of the supercommittee is too important and too serious to be influenced by wealthy campaign contributors and special interests. A "balanced" approach to deficit reduction doesn’t include cuts to Medicare to placate oil company donors and lobbyists.