Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Oil and Politics: Food for Thought

I heard something pretty unbelievable the other day--and while it was true, the context needed to be wrapped around it a little.

I heard that of all the senators in the past 20 years, Obama while he was a senator received the most in campaign contributions from BP Oil.

While this is true--here is the context.

"During his time in the Senate and while running for president, Obama received a total of $77,051 from the oil giant and is the top recipient of BP PAC and individual money over the past 20 years, according to financial disclosure records."
Now, does receiving $77,000 while in the Senate contribute to a lax response against BP in the oil spill follies? I'm not sure. But if you read the article, BP spends a lot of money contributing to the political leadership of our country. In fact the article says $3.5 million. Obama received about 2% of those donations. When compared to $3.5 million, is $77,000 really that much?
It is a bit hard to conceive--that the candidates accept money from all of these interest groups and are not expected to provide anything in return. Really? Really?
So here is where I wind up--yeah the statement is true, he did receive the most--but in the overall scheme, is it really that much? Slinging the fact around without the context makes it sound much worse than it is.
The bigger issue is--who got the remainder of the $3.5 million and is that why BP can take its time to clean up the mess while an ecological disaster continues virtually unchecked? Are all of our politicians on the dole from the oil lobby?

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