Day One Sees Top Big Oil Talent on Board, Grassroots Support
and Oil Money Pouring In to Exxon John
Washington, DC - The reviews are in, and Day One of the Exxon-McCain '08 campaign was a roaring success. Recent reports show oil trader Harry Sargeant funneling hundreds of thousands of campaign cash to McCain, some of Big Oil's top talent helping run the campaign, and grassroots Exxon-McCain rallies taking place across the country. The word is getting out that Exxon-McCain '08 is the best bet for anyone looking for four more years of the same energy policies that have produced soaring energy costs and record profits for Big Oil.
"The Exxon-McCain '08 campaign is off to a roaring start," said DNC spokesman Damien LaVera. "Exxon John has hit the campaign trail with his promise of more of the same failed energy policy that we've seen for the past eight years. Some of the best and brightest minds from Big Oil have joined Exxon John and donations from Big Oil are pouring in to ensure that more of the same Bush-Cheney energy policies of the last eight years which have given Americans record gas prices continue for four more. It is clear that John McCain's promise of $4 billion in new giveaways for Big Oil, a gas tax gimmick that will line their pockets even more and pattern of voting against incentives for alternatives to oil is fueling this campaign. If you want more of the same, vote Exxon-McCain 08 in November."
Exxon-McCain 08 Campaign Hits the Ground Running
Detroit News: Exxon-McCain Protestors Out In Force: The McCain visit spurred protesters to outnumber supporters outside the Fermi II plant. There were 40 to 50 people ready to welcome McCain at the security gate of Fermi II at about 1:30 p.m. Protestors outnumbered McCain's supporters about 3-1, forming camps on separate sides of the entrance. While the small McCain contingent brought lawn chairs and signs saying "Drill Now" and "McCain for Clean Energy, Good Jobs," the protestors were far more flamboyant. They had a novelty check from "Exxon & Friends" giving $2 million to McCain saying "Thanks for staying in the tank for oil" in the memo. Other signs included "John McCain: 100% Recycled Bush" and "John McCain is Not For Monroe." [Detroit News, 8/5/08: http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2008808050418]
In West Virginia:
West Virginia Metro News: "Another Bush Man." "A couple dozen Barack Obama supporters lined 3rd Avenue in Huntington Wednesday morning as Senator John McCain visited the Marshall University football squad. 'The John McCain we see running for President right now is not the same John McCain he was in 2000,' said Matt Sowards, president of the Cabell County Young Democrats. 'He's not this political maverick he claimed to be. He has turned in to be just another Bush man.' The Obama supporters claimed McCain is hooked with big oil and will do nothing to help the nation's energy crisis. 'We can't stand four more years of the failed policies in Washington,' Sowards said." [West Virginia Metro News "'Another Bush Man'," 8/6/08: http://www.wvmetronews.com/index.cfm?func=displayfullstory&storyid=25677]
Huntington News: Gasoline Price Protest. However, Democrats have a gasoline price protest slated within ear and eye shot of the candidate. An official Democratic party source indicates that local residents and community leaders will carry "Exxon-McCain '08' and offer a symbolic check made out from McCain's alleged connections to big oil lobbyists. http://www.huntingtonnews.net/local/080806-rutherford-localmccain.html
Baltimore Sun: O'Malley Launch Exxon-McCain Campaign. Gov. Martin O'Malley was back in Washington yesterday to help his Democratic Party launch a new Web site accusing Republican presidential candidate John McCain of being too close to the oil industry. 'John McCain's running mate is none other than Exxon,' O'Malley said at news conference for the Democratic National Committee's 'Exxon McCain '08' Web site." [Baltimore Sun, 8/7/08: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/nation/politics/bal-omalley0807,0,4954534.story]
Big Oil's Top Talent Joining Exxon-McCain 08:
McCain's Top Congressional Staffer Was An Exxon Lobbyist: In early 2008, McCain hired as his Senate chief of staff Mark Buse, who had served as McCain's staff director on the Commerce Committee "in the late 1990s and early 2000s," and who was until fall 2007 "a lobbyist for ML Strategies." From 2006 until 2007, Buse lobbied the federal government on behalf of Exxon Mobil, earning his firm $560,000 in lobbying fees from the oil giant. Buse lobbied on issues pertaining to renewable fuels, the energy savings act, climate stewardship act, climate change, cap & trade, and S.3711, the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act. [ML Strategies/Exxon Lobbying Disclosures, Senate Office of Public Records; Washington Post, 2/22/08]
The Deputy RNC Chair Was Also an Exxon Lobbyist. In March, McCain Installed Long-Time Lobbyist to Run RNC For Him. On March 6, 2008, Politico reported that the McCain campaign was set to announce "three top John McCain loyalists" to coordinate the RNC's work for McCain. Longtime lobbyist "Frank Donatelli will serve as the new deputy chairman of the RNC and will serve as the chief liaison between the committee and the campaign." ["Jonathan Martin," Politico.com, 3/7/08 (http://www.politico.com/blogs/jonathanmartin/0308/McCain_begins_to_take_charge_at_RNC.html)]
Donatelli Earned $780,000 Lobbying for Exxon. Donatelli lobbied for Exxon until 1999 on "educational efforts pursuant to merger activities," earning his firm of Akin Gump $780,000 in lobbying fees from Exxon in 1999 alone. [Exxon Lobbying Disclosures, Senate Office of Public Records]
Exxon Engaged in Year-Long Effort to Win Approval of $81 Billion Merger with Mobil, Which Created Largest Oil Company in the World. At the time of Donatelli's lobbying for Exxon on "merger activities," the company had been engaged in a year-long effort to win approval of a massive merger that had been delayed by "antitrust concerns" between itself and Mobil, "the No. 2 company in the field." In November 1999, "roughly a year after industry leader Exxon (XON) announced its plan to buy Mobil," the Federal Trade Commission approved the $81 billion merger, which "create[d] the largest oil company and the third largest company in the world behind GE and Microsoft." [CNN Money, 11/30/99; BBC News, 12/1/98]
Oil Donations Pouring In:
Oil Trader Funneled Campaign Contributions to McCain. But the man who gathered checks from them is no stranger to McCain -- he shuttled the Republican on his private plane and held a fundraising event for the candidate at his house in Delray Beach, Fla. Harry Sargeant III, a former naval officer and the owner of an oil-trading company that recently inked defense contracts potentially worth more than $1 billion, is the archetype of a modern presidential money man. The law forbids high-level supporters from writing huge checks, but with help from friends in the Middle East and the former chief of the CIA's bin Laden unit -- who now serves as a consultant to his company -- Sargeant has raised more than $100,000 for three presidential candidates from a collection of ordinary people, several of whom professed little interest in the outcome of the election.
McCain Received Almost $55,000 in Contributions from Exxon Employees and Exxon's PAC. McCain received $54,336 in contributions from Exxon Mobil employees and its PAC. [Political Moneyline, Accessed: 8/5/08]
McCain Has Raised More Than $2.1 Million From The Oil And Gas Industry, Including More Than $1.1 Million In The Month Of June. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, John McCain received $1,039,768 in contributions from the oil and gas industry between January 2007 and May 2008 - a figure which dwarfs any other presidential candidates' oil industry money. In addition, the Washington Post reported that "campaign contributions from oil industry executives to Sen. John McCain rose dramatically in the last half of June, after the senator from Arizona made a high-profile split with environmentalists and reversed his opposition to the federal ban on offshore drilling." According to the Post's analysis, oil and gas industry executives and employees contributed $1.1 million to McCain and the Republican National Committee's Victory Fund in June - $882,950 of which were donated after McCain's June 16th announcement that he supported ending the moratorium on offshore drilling. These contributions, when combined with the $1.03 million raised by McCain prior to the month of June, indicated that he has raised more than $2.1 million from the oil and gas industry. [Center for Responsive Politics website, "Selected Industry Totals to Candidates," accessed 7/31/08; Washington Post, 7/27/08; "Oil Flow," WashingtonPost.com graphic, accessed 8/3/08]