BP’s Favorite Politicians, By the Numbers

<a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:20_Dollars_art3.jpg">Wikimedia Commons</a>

Who’s BP’s favorite politician ever? If you’re just going by the numbers, it’s none other than President Barack Obama, who leads BP’s lifetime campaign donation list with $77,051. That puts him just ahead of reliable oilmen such as Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young, his retired colleague Sen. Ted Stevens, and George W. Bush. According to data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics, BP and its employees have given more than $3.4 million to federal candidates since 1990, with much of their largesse going to these 20:

Amount Received from BP
President Barack Obama
Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska)
Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska, ret.)
President George W Bush $47,388
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) $44,899
Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) $41,400
Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio, ret.) $37,550
Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) $31,000
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) $28,200
Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) $27,350
Sen. Daniel Coats (R-Ind., ret.) $25,000
Rep. Lynn Martin (R-Ill., ret.) $24,450
Sen. Frank Murkowski (R-Alaska) $24,000
Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas) $23,800
Sen. Don Nickles (R-Okla., ret.) $23,750
Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) $22,300
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) $22,000
Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) $21,100
Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) $20,950
Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) $20,800


Obama’s $77K from BP is 0.01% of the whopping $799 million he’s raised in his career, but as everything BP touches turns toxic, it raises a question: Would he—should he—give BP its money back? OpenSecrets asked BP’s #9 all-time recipient, Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu, the same thing shortly after the spill, and her flack answered that gifts from BP and its employees “have absolutely no impact on Sen. Landrieu’s policy agenda or her response to this unprecedented disaster in the Gulf.” So far, no other officeholders have volunteered to refund their past donations from the company to pay its cleanup (or legal) bill.

Meanwhile, BP and its employees have spent more than $112,000 on 70 candidates running in the 2010 election cycle, with 56% going to Republicans and more than 70% going to incumbents. However, the top recipient so far is a Democratic newbie, Kentucky Senate candidate Jack Conway, who’s received $9,600 from BP employees for his campaign against Rand Paul. Here’s BP’s top 15 recipients as of mid-May (see here for a more detailed breakdown):

Amount Received from BP
Jack Conway (D-Ky., Senate) $9,600
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) $7,000
Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) $4,000
Jeffrey M. Landry (R-La., House) $2,400
Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) $2,000
Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) $2,000
Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) $2,000
Rep. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) $2,000
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) $2,000
Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) $2,000
Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) $2,000
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) $1,500
Julie Hamos (D-Ill., House) $1,400
Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) $1,250
Cheryle Robinson Jackson (D-Ill., Senate) $1,050


Several of the incumbents on that list are members of congressional energy committees; Murkowski is a ranking member of the Senate’s. Overall, BP donations have gone to 14 members of the House Energy Committee, 10 members of the House Natural Resources Committee, and 7 members of the Senate Energy Committee. Among the non-incumbents on the list is Jeffrey Landry, a Republican House candidate from Louisiana who has attacked the Obama administration’s recent ban on deepwater drilling in the Gulf, telling Human Events, “When he takes the…Outer Continental Shelf drilling away from us, he cripples our economy. If he increases the moratorium, he pulls the plug on our life support.” Landry’s probably not the one to do it, but seems like only a matter of time before a candidate makes a big show of sending a fat check back to BP.


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Give a Year of the Truth

at our special holiday rate

just $12

Order Now

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.