Whoever isn’t covered in oil, please raise your hand! Starting with Obama himself, who received $71,000 in donations from BP employees during his presidential campaign. Or CIA Director Leon Panetta and the Middle East Special Envoy George Mitchell, both of whom ended up as BP advisors. Or Senator John Kerry, linked through his own family’s actions not only to BP but to Transocean, the company that built the oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.
Today, the people responsible for the oil spill are appearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. They will blame one another to make it look real and play to the gallery. But it will probably be reduced to a reunion of buddies, without any kind of political significance.
Search on the web for the Center for Responsive Politics, and you will find out how much money BP has invested to cover its back in Washington: $16 million in 2009 and $3.5 million to date in 2010. The industry's traditional inclination towards the Republican Party has been leveled out over the course of the last two years; the Democratic Party has inched closer, already monopolizing 40 percent of the donations from oil companies.
“President Obama didn’t accept a dime from corporate PACs or federal lobbyists during his presidential campaign,” White House spokesman Ben LaBolt said. True. The Democratic candidate raised $750 million from nearly four million generous Americans. Among them, dozens of BP employees gave nearly $71,000 in total.
Months after, Obama appointed Steven Koonin, former chief scientist at BP, as under secretary for science at the Department of Energy. A word to the wise is sufficient. ...
Another unavoidable connection: Tony Podesta, renowned lobbyist for BP America, is John Podesta’s brother, who was the leader of Obama’s transition team and keeps bombing ideas about the country’s energy future through the Center for American Progress.
Ex-Senator Tom Daschle, a key person during Obama’s campaign and frustrated health secretary, is also on the roster of ex-BP advisers.
More links in common: two ex-collaborators of the deceased Senator Ted Kennedy, Anthony Coley and David Sutphen, have been hired by BP to manage the crisis, through the Brunswick Group, a public relations and communications company in Washington.
The most visible and direct connection is, without a doubt, Louisiana Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu. Even when the oil rope is threatening to choke her state economy, Laundrieu keeps chanting, “Drill, baby, drill,” with almost the same conviction that Sarah Palin does. Her enthusiasm for crude is surely related to the $17,000 received from political committees and private donors from BP, as the OpenSecrets.org blog claims.
We’ll keep you posted.