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Mitt Romney: Still in the Tank for Big Oil

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Mike Palamuso, (202) 454-4598 or mike_palamuso@lcv.org

09 May 2012  |  Lea Brumfield

WASHINGTON – In response to Mitt Romney’s campaign stop today in Colorado to discuss energy, League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Senior Vice President for Campaigns Navin Nayak released the following statement:

“Don’t be fooled – Mitt Romney is still in the tank for Big Oil. He may pretend to offer solutions to America’s energy challenges, but Romney supports protecting the billions in special tax breaks enjoyed by the same oil industry that is bankrolling his campaign.”

Background

Mitt Romney would protect Big Oil’s taxpayer-funded handouts:

  • Romney: “I don’t want to raise taxes on oil companies.” In response to the ads that the Obama Campaign and Priorities USA Action were running, which criticized Romney's support for tax breaks for oil companies, Romney said at a townhall meeting, "[Obama] blames me for the high price of gasoline because I don’t want to raise taxes on oil companies. I don’t like raising taxes on anybody." He then said that the President's proposal to eliminate oil subsides is part of a “dangerous” strategy to “divide America.” [Romney Townhall in Delaware, 4/10/12]
  • Romney supports Paul Ryan’s budget plan, which would keep tax breaks for Big Oil. According to Politico, Romney said: “I'm very supportive of the Ryan budget plan. It's a bold and exciting effort on his part and on the part of the Republicans and it's very much consistent with what I put out earlier.… I applaud it. It's an excellent piece of work and very much needed.” As the Center for American Progress has noted, the Ryan budget “retains $40 billion in Big Oil tax loopholes while completely eliminating investments in the clean energy technologies of the future that are essential for long-term economic growth.” CAP recently confirmed that the oil subsidies would still be protected in the latest version of the Ryan budget. [Politico, 3/20/12; Center for American Progress, 4/6/11; Center for American Progress, 3/21/12]
  • Romney also pledged support for oil company subsidies during the 2008 campaign. The New York Times reported: "In a written response to questions about his energy positions, Romney said Friday, ‘Now is not the right time to raise taxes on our oil companies.’ He expressed doubt about requirements to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions." [New York Times, 11/28/07]

Big Oil has put big money behind Mitt Romney:

  • Koch brothers have pledged more than $200 Million with “focus” on defeating Obama. According to Politico, “The billionaire industrialist brothers David and Charles Koch plan to steer more than $200 million — potentially much more — to conservative groups ahead of Election Day, POLITICO has learned… at the latest installment of the twice-a-year gatherings of major donors sponsored by the Koch brothers’ privately owned oil, chemical and consumer products company, Koch operatives signaled they ‘are going to focus a great deal on the presidential race,’ according to someone who attended the meeting.” [Politico, 10/10/11]
  • Oil-backed outside groups have spent over $16 million on energy attack ads since January, many targeting Obama. According to Think Progress, “In the first three-and-a-half months of 2012, groups including Americans for Prosperity, American Petroleum Institute, Crossroads GPS, and American Energy Alliance have spent $16,750,000 on energy attack ads.” As Think Progress documented, many of these ads have directly attacked President Obama. The American Petroleum Institute is the national trade association for the oil and gas industry; Americans for Prosperity and the American Energy Alliance are partially funded by the Koch brothers.  Crossroads GPS does not disclose most of its donors, but its sister organization American Crossroads’ “donors include oil and gas executives,” as Think Progress noted. [Think Progress, 4/12/12]
  • Romney campaign has directly received more than $1 million from the oil and gas industry.  While much of the oil industry’s support for Romney is via outside groups, oil and gas companies have also contributed over $1 million directly to his presidential campaigns. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, as of April 21, the Romney campaign has received $899,630 from the oil and gas industry during the 2012 election cycle. Romney received $520,094 from the oil and gas industry during his 2008 campaign for President.  [Opensecrets.org; Opensecrets.org]
  • Romney's top energy adviser is a billionaire oil executive.  Bloomberg reported: “Mitt Romney, the front-runner for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, appointed Oklahoma oil billionaire Harold Hamm as energy adviser to his campaign. Hamm, the 66-year-old founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Continental Resources Inc. (CLR), will be chairman of Romney’s Energy Policy Advisory Group, the candidate’s campaign office said in a statement today.” As Think Progress has noted, another prominent member of the Romney campaign is Candian oil lobbyist David Wilkins. [Bloomberg, 3/1/12; Think Progress, 2/21/12]

LCV Victory Fund is currently partnering with Priorities USA Action on a $1 million television ad campaign in Colorado and Nevada. Watch the ad here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VawP95r8DBk.

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Paid for by the League of Conservation Voters, www.lcv.org, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.



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