Smokey Joe Barton: the Frackers’ Favorite Congressman

by jim on November 22, 2013

bartonvadarsmOn Wednesday the DC-based campaign money watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) released a report totaling up all the contributions to Congress from the nation's fracking industry fom 2004 to 2012 and found, to absolutely no one's surprise, that our own Smokey Joe Barton led all comers with over half a million of grateful cash collected.

Since he was Chairman of the House Energy Committee for two of those years, and successfully led the effort to exempt fracking from federal environmental laws in the 2005 Energy Act, Barton is a favorite industry recipient.

But even the House Republicans have their limits. After his disastrous 2006 apology to former BP Chairman Tony Hayward for the White House's demand for $20 billion from the company for help in cleaning up its huge Gulf oil spill, the GOP decided that perhaps Smokey Joe wasn't the best face they cold put on energy policy and replaced him as  Chairman. Now he's the senior member of his own Committee but isn't running it. Because this kind of money follows power, most of his large eight year total came before Barton got kicked to the gutter by his own party.

And it's why in just one campaign and less than two years, Texas' junior Senator Ted Cruz has already collected more than half of Barton's total, almost $300,000, from frackers, just shy of the amount our Senior Senator John Cornyn brought in over a much longer period of time. The industry is buying lots of tickets to climb aboard the Cruz presidential campaign band wagon. In another year's time it won't be shocking if Cruz surpasses Barton, even though he's not a Committee Chair or holds nay special influence in the Senate.

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