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Big Oil and Big Guns: Not so strange bedfellows

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oil and big gunsOil and gas companies give hundreds of millions of dollars to political campaigns and lobbying groups to further their interests in Congress. In 2012 and 2013 oil and gas spent a combined $24 million on contributions to (mostly Republican) lawmakers in the Senate and the House. In 2013, OpenSecrets.org reported, the oil-and-gas industry spent almost $145 million on lobbying.

Oil and gas donations to advocacy groups relate to issues of oil and gas exploration on land and offshore, climate change, tax increases and approving the Keystone pipeline. But recent research by liberal groups suggests that millions of dollars have also been going to gun groups, such as the National Rifle Association (NRA) and Safari Club International (SCI), for purposes that seemingly contradict the platforms those groups purport to represent.

In a report released in April, the Center for American Progress (CAP) argued that the top 20 congressional recipients of donations from the political action committee of SCI received more than $1.5 million from oil and gas during the 2010 and 2012 election cycles.

According to the report, investments in sportsmen’s associations enable energy companies to influence NRA and SCI lobbying efforts, particularly in areas such as privatizing public lands, expanding drilling activities in national forests and fighting “the nation’s most effective wildlife recovery law, the Endangered Species Act.”

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