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LCV Re-Launches TV Ad to Pressure Rep. Benishek to Stop Supporting Taxpayer Handouts to Big Oil

Contact: Kate Geller, (202) 785-8683 or

March 29, 2012  

MICHIGAN – Today, the League of Conservation Voters re-launched a television ad in Michigan’s 1st district to encourage Michigan families to keep the pressure on Representative Benishek to stop voting to protect tax breaks for Big Oil. The ad highlights the Congressman’s extensive voting record of supporting unnecessary subsidies to the oil industry as well as his comments that “oil companies pay their fair share.” The television ad will run for the next week on broadcast and cable in the Traverse City and Marquette media markets and builds off LCV’s advertising campaign in November.

“As Michigan families get slammed with another season of high gas prices Congressman Benishek remains committed to handing out billions in special tax breaks to the nation’s most profitable oil companies,” said LCV President Gene Karpinski. “With the major oil companies reaping a staggering $137 billion in profits in 2011, Michigan families should demand that Congressman Benishek rid our tax system of these unnecessary oil subsidies once and for all.”

The Senate is expected to vote on legislation cutting oil industry subsidies as soon as today and the House is slated to vote today on Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) FY 2013 budget that retains a decade’s worth of oil tax breaks worth $40 billion.

The five biggest oil companies made $137 billion in 2011 alone, and the oil and gas industry receives $4 billion in tax breaks annually.  Yet Rep. Benishek told constituents at a public forum: “I think oil companies pay their fair share.” [Center for American Progress; CNN, 4/29/11; Petoskey News, 8/24/11]

Rep. Benishek has voted repeatedly to protect tax breaks for Big Oil. [HR1, House Vote 109, 2/18/11; HJRes44, House Vote 153, 3/1/11; HRes245, House Vote 293, 5/5/11; HR3408 Amdt 18, House Vote 68, 2/16/12] The ad urges Rep. Benishek’s constituents to contact the Congressman to tell him to vote the right way on this critical issue.

While consistently voting to protect their unnecessary subsidies in the U.S. House, Rep. Benishek has received $59,100 in campaign contributions from oil and gas companies over the course of his career. The industry is one of his top five sources of cash.  [Center for Responsive Politics]

View the ad here:

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