NRC Campaign Contributions: The Big Reveal

As its name implies, the House Natural Resources Committee (NRC) is responsible for managing natural resources on federal-owned lands. The … Continued

As its name implies, the House Natural Resources Committee (NRC) is responsible for managing natural resources on federal-owned lands. The NRC’s basic mandate is to ensure American individuals and industries have access to federal land to enjoy as well as to extract resources in the most environmentally sound manner.

These conflicting—sometimes competing—interests occasionally pit ranchers, timber, mining, and oil and gas companies against environmental and conservation groups, including hunters and anglers, particularly in the West, where mining, oil and gas industries are demanding increasing access to vast swaths of public lands to explore and drill.

Therefore, it is insightful to review who is contributing what to representatives serving on the House NRC because, in a capitalist democracy, money is the ultimate definer and arbiter of interest.

There are 47 representatives on the House NRC, 26 Republicans and 21 Democrats. The NRC is composed of numerous subcommittees, including the 26-member — 14 GOP, 12 Democrat — subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation, which is the legislative Ground Zero for the future of public lands management.

According to a recently released Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) annual “Funds for Favors” report, the oil and gas industry contributed $4.761 million to 315 congressional candidates — 207 Republican, 108 Democrat — during the 2012-13 election cycle. Members serving on the House NRC received more than $700,000 in 2012-13 campaign contributions from oil, gas and mining interests, but less than $600,000 from all other donors combined.

Among individual corporate top campaign donors during the 2012-13 election cycle was Exxon Mobil, which contributed $10.63 million to candidates and the National Mining Association, with $1 million in campaign contributions.

CREW’s report, as well as statistics compiled on www.opensecrets.org, breaks down campaign donations into six categories: Mining, oil & gas, environmental, fisheries & wildlife, forestry & forestry products, and industrial unions. Here is a breakdown by category with primary beneficiaries:

Industry: Mining
Total campaign donations to 22 NRC members: $118,250
Republicans: 20 recipients, $109,750
Democrats: 2 recipients, $8,500
Top individual recipients:C— Steven Daines (R-Mont) $25,500
— Scott Tipton (R-Colo) $16,200
— Cynthia Marie Lummis (R-Wyo) $12,000

Industry: Oil & Gas
Total campaign donations to 33 NRC members: $598,692
Republicans: 22 recipients, $545,942
Democrats: 11 recipients, $52,750
Top individual recipients:
— Steven Daines (R-Mont) $87,412
— John Fleming (R-La) $64,100
— Bill Flores (R-Texas) $62,300

Industry: Environmental
Total campaign donations to 15 NRC members: $219,389
Republicans: 7 recipients, $9,000
Democrats: 8 recipients, $210,389
Top individual recipients:
— Ed Markey (D-Mass) $199,939
— Rush Holt (D-NJ) $6,200
— John Fleming (R-La) $2,500
— Rob Wittman (R-Va) $2,500

Industry: Fisheries & Wildlife
Total campaign donations to 6 NRC members: $6,500
Republicans: 4 recipients, $4,000
Democrats: 2 recipients, $2,250
Top individual recipients:
— Doc Hastings (R-Wash) $2,500
— Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii) $2,000
— Rob Wittman (R-Va) $1,000

Industry: Forestry & Forest Products
Total campaign donations to 25 NRC members: $138,800
Republicans: 21 recipients, $135,500
Democrats: 4 recipients, $2,250
Top individual recipients:
— Steve Southerland (R-Fla) $16,000
— Glenn Thompson (R-Pa) $15,000
— Bill Flores (R-Texas) $13,000

Industry: Industrial unions
Total campaign donations to 18 NRC members: $221,000
Republicans: 2 recipients, $7,500
Democrats: 16 recipients, $2,250
Top individual recipients:
— Ed Markey (D-Mass) $35,000
— Raul Ruiz (D-Calif) $27,000
— Frank Pallone Jr (D-NJ) $20,000

Further breaking down donations by subcommittee, the pattern persists with the 26 members of the NRC’s subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation with 13 of 14 Republicans on the panel receiving a lion’s share of campaign largess from oil and gas interests while the subcommittee’s 12 Democrats essentially didn’t receive a dime.

Subcommittee chairman Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) received $18,500 in campaign contributions from oil and gas interests, including $2,500 each from Devon Energy and Newfield Exploration Co.

Others:

— Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) reported a total of 67 contributions ($200 or more) totaling $80,500, including $22,750 from oil and gas interests, primarily Edison Chouest Offshore ($20,000).

— Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) reported 313 contributions ($200 or more) totaling $270,400, including $19,050 from oil and gas interests.

— Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) reported 21 contributions ($200 or more) totaling $29,310, including$15,500 from oil and gas interests and $8,750 from mining companies.

— Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) reported a total of 586 contributions ($200 or more) totaling $641,507, including $9,250 in campaign donations from oil and gas interests, primarily $4,500 from Occidental Petroleum. Broun was named by CREW as one of the 13 “most corrupt” congressmen now serving.

— Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) reported 285 contributions ($200 or more) totaling $166,114, including $9,250 from oil and gas interests, such as Occidental Petroleum ($4,500).

— Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) reported 39 contributions ($200 or more) totaling $23,925, including $28,500 from oil and gas interests and $12,000 from mining companies. Top donors include Alpha Natural Resources ($7,000), Arch Coal ($5,000), Halliburton Co. ($5,000) and the National Ocean Industries ($3,500), which is odd because Wyoming is a long, long ways from the ocean.

— Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Colo.) reported 294 contributions ($200 or more) totaling $318,850, including $37,450 from oil and gas interests and $21,400 from mining companies.

— Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Nevada) reported 55 contributions ($200 or more) totaling $42,725, including $10,500 from mining interests such as the National Mining Association ($6,000).

— Rep. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) reported 661 contributions ($200 or more) totaling $755,768, including $107,800 from oil and gas companies.

— Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) reported 120 contributions ($200 or more) totaling $147,985, including $57,500 from the oil and gas industry. Top donors include WPX Energy ($10,000) and Oasis Petroleum ($6,200).

— Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) reported 87 contributions ($200 or more) totaling $55,750, including $11,500 from oil and gas interests.

— Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.) reported 539 contributions ($200 or more) totaling $434,819, including $25,065 from mining interests and $23,150 from oil and gas companies. Top donors include Lucas Oil Products ($10,400).

For more, go to:
— CREW’s 2013 Funds for Favors report; http://www.citizensforethics.org/pages/funds-for-favors.
— Politicians campaign contributions: http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/contrib.php?cycle=2014&cid=N00009157&type=I&newmem=
— Exposing Donors’ Influence on Committee Leaders, available at http://www.citizensforethics.org/pages/funds-for-favors
— Most corrupt: http://www.crewsmostcorrupt.org/mostcorrupt