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BP Spent Millions on Lobbying, Campaign Donations

A file photograph of the Deepwater Horizon, which was located about 50 miles off the southeast coast of Louisiana. NOAA

During the 2008 campaign cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, individuals and political action committees (PACs) associated with oil-giant BP contributed about $500,000 to federal candidates. About 40 percent went to Democrats.

The top recipient overall? President Obama, who got $71,000 from the company tied to the environmental disaster in the Gulf, according to the group.

The organization says BP spent $16 million on lobbying last year and $3.53 million in the first quarter overall, putting it second among oil and gas industry interests. The oil and gas industry spent $169 million on lobbying in 2009.

Current law caps BP's liability for the spill at $75 million, though Congress and the White House are working to retroactively raise the cap, despite the possible unconstitutionality of such a move. 

The White House stresses that the money that flowed to Mr. Obama during the campaign from BP came from individual employees, not PACs or federal lobbyists. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs today dismissed the notion that there is a correlation between contributions and insufficient regulation of BP as "silly and ridiculous."

Before the spill, Mr. Obama ended the moratorium on offshore drilling in certain areas and deemed the practice generally safe.

Spokesman Ben LaBolt told Politico in response to news of the contributions that Mr. Obama that "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."

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