Energy interests pour millions into campaign

By Laurie Bennett

August 9, 2012 at 9:53am

The Koch brothers, owners of the giant oil producer Koch Industries, are widely perceived as Obama’s major opponents in the energy sector.

But they don’t lack for company.

Oil and gas companies, led by Koch Industries, are pouring millions into the 2012 elections and almost all of it is going to the GOP.

Of the $8.1 million contributed thus far to federal candidates, 86 percent went to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Here are the top 12 corporate spenders:

Company Total Dem Repub
Koch Industries $1,059,500 $21,000 $1,038,500
Exxon Mobil $948,000 $63,500 $884,500
Valero Energy $445,000 $35,500 $409,500
Chevron Corp $427,000 $37,000 $390,000
Chesapeake Energy $288,500 $49,000 $239,500
Occidental Petroleum $288,000 $19,000 $269,000
Devon Energy $285,500 $6,000 $279,500
Halliburton Co $285,000 $18,000 $267,000
El Paso Corp $280,000 $79,500 $200,500
Williams Companies $274,500 $47,000 $227,500
Independent Petroleum Assn of America $269,500 $8,500 $261,000
ConocoPhillips $266,250 $15,500 $250,750

Yet that’s only part of the picture.

Individually, oil executives are contributing additional millions to committees and PACs.

In February, David Koch gave $1 million to the Republican Governors Association, which helped Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker fend off a recall effort.

Other reported contributions (the Kochs are believed to be giving millions to political groups that do not release the names of their donors) have gone to the Republican national congressional and senatorial committees. Reported donations by brother Charles Koch total $100,700.

Other big donors from the energy sector include:

Paul L. Foster - Chairman of Western Refining. Foster gave $100,000 to Make Us Great Again, the super PAC supporting Texas Gov. Rick Perry. In June, he gave another $100,00 to the Romney campaign.

Richard F. Hohlt - a lobbyist whose clients include Chevron and Peabody Energy. Hohlt has focused primarily on congressional races, although he has given $3,500 to Romney.

Aubrey K. McClendon - The beleaguered Chesapeake Energy chief has contributed to Romney, House Speaker John Boehner, Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown and other Republican committees. McClendon was also a backer of the Swift Boat efforts to defeat John Kerry in 2004.

Ray L. Hunt - Chairman of Hunt Oil Company. Another Romney backer, Hunt has contributed more than $75,000 to federal candidates.

James T. Hackett - Chairman of Anadarko Petroleum. Also a Romney backer, Hackett has given more than $122,000 this cycle.

J. Larry Nichols - Chairman of Devon Energy. Nichols has given $106,000. His largest single contribution was $47,500 to the Romney campaign.

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