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Sierra Daily

May 13, 2011

Oil Company Execs Visit Their Money on Capitol Hill

Yesterday the CEOs of BP America, ConocoPhillips, Shell Oil, Chevron, and ExxonMobil appeared before the Senate Finance Committee to defend their billions of dollars in tax breaks at a time when they're raking in first quarter profits of more than $35 billion. ConocoPhillips CEO James Mulva was ripped for a press release his company had sent out calling attempts to end the subsidies "un-American":

“Right now we have a huge deficit. And that budget deficit, even though we don’t like it, it says we should cut aid to students who need to go to college,” Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., told the oil executives. “And it boils down to priorities as we have to get the deficit to a certain level. Sitting in our shoes, Mr. Mulva, do you think that your subsidy is more important than the financial aid we give to students who go to college?”

Mr. Mulva didn't really respond, as is usual in these hearings, and despite the sound and fury the votes to end oil-industry subsidies appear to be lacking. This morning MapLight.org sent around a very simple chart that goes a long way to explaining why (click for larger image):

Table_paul 
 Methodology: Includes monetary and non-monetary contributions from Jan. 1, 2001-Dec. 31, 2010 to candidate campaign committees of legislators serving in the House and Senate on May 12, 2011. Contributions data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics ( OpenSecrets.org).

--Paul Rauber

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