Over the years, the big oil companies have been able to control what happens in Congress and now the American people are paying for it. The companies have gained and maintained control by giving large “campaign donations” to their political friends and by having powerful and highly-influential lobbyists on their payrolls. The lobbyists make sure those who take their money follow to the letter the industry line. Lobbyists are the channel of influence in Washington and there is no real dispute about that. During the Bush years Big Oil took full advantage of its alliance with the Administration.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the five oil companies whose top executives traveled to Capitol Hill in Washington to testify about the gulf oil spill have spent $18.7 million lobbying so far in 2010. Those firms account for about 50% of the $38.2 million the oil industry has spent on K Street (the home of lobbyists) so far in 2010. As a point of reference consider that in 2009 the oil giants spent $175 million for lobbyists and in 2008 the total spent was $92.5 million. Unfortunately, most Americans haven’t had a clue about how things are done in Washington, but they are beginning to find out. But until we figure out a way to stop the flow of money from Corporate America – and specifically the oil, drug, and insurance industries – the public will continue to have little say on what happens in Congress.
Source: Center for Responsive Politics
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