Fossil Favors: New Public Citizen Report Names Top 50 U.S. House Recipients of Dirty Energy Interest Campaign Cash
$28 Million Raised by House Members Who Will Soon Vote on Legislation Full of Industry Giveaways
WASHINGTON, D.C. – With the U.S. House of Representatives about to vote on dirty energy legislation that would put the climate in further peril, a new Public Citizen report reveals that fossil fuel interests have donated nearly $28 million to key lawmakers poised to approve the industry’s agenda.
The report, Fossil Favors, provides an accounting of the 50 members of the U.S. House of Representatives who have received the most campaign contributions from fossil fuel interests over their careers. It comes as the House considers energy legislation including a laundry list of industry giveaways. It also calls into question the Republican-led “war on energy” messaging campaign that has disingenuously ignored the gradual decline of energy prices and increased fuel exports to Asia.
The 50 lawmakers – 45 Republicans and five Democrats – benefited from a combined $28 million in industry contributions during their careers. Two of those Democrats – Reps. Henry Cuellar and Vicente Gonzalez, both of Texas – have stated publicly that they would vote to reverse their party’s groundbreaking climate legislation to enact a grab bag of fossil fuel giveaways.
“Fossil fuel polluters are not funding Capitol Hill lawmakers out of the goodness of their hearts,” said Alan Zibel, the report’s author and a Public Citizen researcher. “They expect something in return because even the record profits of the past year are not enough.”
Analyzing campaign finance information from OpenSecrets, the report finds:
- The $28 million combined total includes $24.2 million that went to the 45 Republicans and $3.6 million to five Democrats over their careers.
- The top 10 House career recipients of oil and gas money include nine Republicans — including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) and one Democrat, Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas). McCarthy has raised $2.8 million over his career from fossil fuel interests, including Chevron and Occidental Petroleum. Scalise has raised $2.1 million over his career from fossil fuel interests. Cuellar, the most prolific recipient of fossil fuel contributions among House Democrats and the third overall, has raised $1.3 million from oil and gas interests over his career.
- New House lawmakers have been prodigious oil and gas fundraisers. Seventeen lawmakers in their first or second term in Congress have raised a combined $2.9 million from oil and gas interests over their careers and $5.4 million in the 2022 election cycle alone. Rep. August Pfluger (R.-Texas) has been an especially prodigious oil and gas fundraiser, raking in nearly $1.1 million from oil and gas interests in just two election cycles.
- Of the top 50 career fossil fuel money recipients, 19 are from Texas — by far the most of any state, including 15 Republicans and four Democrats.
These contributions threaten to compromise efforts to tackle the climate crisis and slow the transition to renewable energy. Earlier this month, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that without swift action, the world will likely miss its climate targets of limiting warming by the early 2030s.
“Fossil fuel money is polluting Congress,” said Public Citizen President Robert Weissman. “As a direct result, House Republicans just rammed through legislation that would race us toward climate catastrophe and over time cost American consumers and taxpayers trillions of dollars in preventable climate destruction.”