GOP SENATORS LEAVE INTERIOR POST EMPTY BUT FILL CAMPAIGN COFFERS WITH BIG OIL MONEY

WASHINGTON, D.C.-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 Republican 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 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)
$62,250
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