The American Petroleum Institute (API) has been throwing buckets of money at the political arena, hoping to influence voters and legislators to follow their Big Oil agenda. Under president Jack Gerard, the API spent a third of its 2010 budget on campaign ads –a hefty $63 million, and their spending is expected to only increase this election cycle.
In the first three months of 2012, the API has already outspent all but the biggest super PACs, and has outstripped nearly every other trade organization in political spending and public relations. Their $4.3 million in the first three months of 2012 has kept on message against President Obama’s energy plan, blitzing voters with ads urging them to support the Keystone XL dirty tar sands pipeline, and accusing Obama and the members of Congress of attempting to “punish” the oil industry by trying to end $4 billion in tax loopholes for Big Oil companies already raking in $137 billion in profits.
API president Gerard has been leading the charge, personally contributing $2,470 to pro-oil presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and raising many times that by hosting fundraisers for the candidate. Gerard’s family members have contributed an additional $4,970 to Romney’s 2012 campaign.
Romney has accepted a total of over $750,000 from oil and gas industries, and the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future has accepted another $1 million. At the same time, Romney has appointed an oil shale billionaire as an energy adviser, endorsed Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget preserving tax breaks for multi-million dollar oil companies, and campaigned against the fuel efficiency standards a majority of Americans support.