Waxman Wants to Know: How Much Has BP Spent on Ads?


Last month, I estimated that BP had spent at least $5.6 million on ads in major newspapers alone to promote its “recovery” efforts. That was as of June; the company has spent plenty more since then, and plenty on television and web ads, too. How much? Well, Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, wants to know. He sent the BP America CEO Lamar McKay a letter this week demanding a detailed accounting of the oil giant’s ad buys.

Waxman demands that the company provide “a chart identifying the total amount spent on advertisements placed, published, or aired by, or on behalf of, BP” since the April 20 disaster—radio, TV, print, and web. The ads are still running in major papers (I saw one in the Sunday Washington Post last weekend).

I’ll be interested to see how much the company has forked out in promoting itself over the past four months. I’d guess $5.6 million is just a tiny slice.

Special Report: Check out our in-depth investigation of BP’s crimes in the Gulf, “BP’s Deep Secrets.”

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  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.