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TIPSHEET: With $11Mil in Campaign Contributions & Personal Oil Investments, Perry Announces Predictable “Oil Above All” Energy Plan

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

October 14, 2011  

Today presidential candidate Rick Perry announced his energy plan which would expand risky oil drilling on federal lands and offshore, roll back clean air protections and end many incentives for development of renewable energy. This “oil above all” energy strategy comes as no surprise considering his campaigns have been bankrolled by Big Oil and he’s also personally invested in oil and gas companies that would benefit from expanding drilling.  He’s also taken pay-to-play to a whole new level by suing the EPA and instituting expensive tax breaks for his donors.

Big Oil has already contributed over $11 million to Rick Perry’s campaigns and Perry has a personal, vested interest in the success of multiple oil companies. 

  • The oil and gas industry has been Rick Perry’s top source of campaign cash, contributing an astronomical $11,549,801.  Watchdog group Texans for Public Justice estimates that Perry has raised nearly $14 million altogether “from individuals and committees associated with energy, natural resource extraction and waste industries” between 2001 and 2010.  [Institute for Money in State Politics; Politico, 8/10/11]

  • According to his personal financial disclosures, Perry is invested in Conoco Phillips, Chevron, MDU Resources and MKS Natural Gas.  [Texas Ethics Commission, 8/30/11]

Perry isn’t concerned about drilling and pipeline safety, and believes that oil spills are just “acts of God that cannot be prevented.”

  • After the Deepwater Horizon explosion that killed 11 people and devastated the fishing and tourism industries in the Gulf of Mexico, Perry warned against a drilling moratorium, explaining, “From time to time there are going to be things that occur that are acts of God that cannot be prevented.”  [Politico, 5/3/10]

  • The next day, Perry still wouldn’t put any of the blame on the companies behind the oil rig, arguing “Nobody knows what happened, and I said that in my remarks, that there was a lot of speculation. It could have been an act of God, it could have been, you know, who knows?''  [New York Times, 5/29/10]

Perry has a history of engaging in pay-to-play tactics.  Donors from dirty energy and resources industries are no exception.

  • Governor Perry pushed through legislation allowing 2nd biggest donor Harold Simmons to make $2 billion bringing nuclear waste to Texas from 38 states.  Just a week and a half later, Simmons contributed $100,000 to Americans for Rick Perry. [The Nation, 8/17/11]

  • Energy Future Holdings, one of the biggest opponents of the EPA’s new air quality rules which Perry also opposes, has contributed almost half a million to Perry’s campaigns.   Additionally, the company was slated to build several dirty coal plants thanks to an executive order signed by Governor Perry in 2005. [BusinessWeek, 9/21/11; Institute for Money in State Politics; Texans for Public Justice, September 2011]

  • Perry signed legislation making permanent a temporary tax break for fracking, costing Texas taxpayers $1.5 billion in just two years while benefiting major Perry donors including Trevor Rees-Jones of Western Refining and Exxon Mobil.  [Texans for Public Justice, September 2011]

  • Over a dozen Perry appointments to state boards like the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact, Energy Planning Council and Emerging Technologies Advisory Committee were employees or executives of oil and gas companies that were major contributors to Perry’s campaigns.  Examples include CenterPoint Energy, ConocoPhillips, Energy Future Holdings and Exxon Mobil.  [Texans for Public Justice, September 2011]

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