Gibbs: Palin Should Get More Informed About Drilling

CBS/Chris Usher

Sarah Palin says she is still a "big supporter of offshore drilling" despite the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill that is threatening the environment and the economy, though she adds that oil companies should be held accountable for their actions.

On Fox News Sunday, the former Alaska governor drew a link between the Obama administration's response to the spill and what she cast as President Obama's cozy relationship with oil companies tied to their support for his presidential campaign.

Later, on CBS' "Face the Nation," host Bob Schieffer asked White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs to respond to Palin's claim about the Obama administration's relationship with oil companies.

"Sarah Palin was involved in that election, but I don't think, apparently, was paying a whole lot of attention," Gibbs said. "I'm almost sure that the oil companies don't consider the Obama administration a huge ally - we proposed a windfall profits tax when they jacked their oil prices up to charge for gasoline."

"My suggestion to Sarah Palin would be to get slightly more informed as to what's going on in and around oil drilling in this country," he added.

Following Gibbs' suggestion that she "get slightly more informed," Palin tweeted: "Mr. Gibbs, BP gave over $3.5mill to federal candidates over the past 20 years, with with the largest amount going to Obama," linking to a Politico story citing data from the Center for Responsible Politics. 

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. 

Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt dismissed the suggestion of undue influence by BP in the same Politico story, from May 5:

"President Obama didn't accept a dime from corporate PACs or federal lobbyists during his presidential campaign," spokesman Ben LaBolt said. "He raised $750 million from nearly four million Americans. And since he became president, he rolled back tax breaks and giveaways for the oil and gas industry, spearheaded a G20 agreement to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, and made the largest investment in American history in clean energy incentives."

According to Open Secrets.org, BP's campaign contributions during the 2008 election cycle were $214,915 to Democrats, and $315,909 to Republicans (about 40/60), split almost evenly between individual contributions and PACs.

According to the National Institute on Money in State Politics, during Palin's 2006 run for Governor in Alaska (where the large majority of donations came from individuals), BP America made the fifth-largest donation by a company to her campaign, contributing $4,650, with BP Alaska giving an additional $250.

  • Dan Farber On Twitter»

    Dan has more than 20 years of journalism experience. He has served as editor in chief of CBSNews.com, CNET News, ZDNet, PC Week, and MacWeek.

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