Congressional Quarterly reports this week that there’s been a big jump in oil industry lobbying in the first quarter. Our Texas on the Potomoc blog had an entry on it too.
In a nutshell “the oil and gas industry players spent $37.3 million to lobby the federal government in the first three months of this year, 52 percent more than they did on average for the quarterly reporting periods in 2008.”
The oil company that most dramatically upped its lobbying tab was Houston-based ConocoPhillips, which spent nearly $6 million in the first quarter of this year. By contrast, its lobbying expenditures averaged $2.1 million for each quarter in 2008.
Red Caveney, senior vice president for government affairs at ConocoPhillips, attributed at least some of the ebb and flow of lobbying expenditures to the election cycle. “My guess is, you are probably spending the least when you are finishing up the eighth year of a two-term president,” he said, referring to President George W. Bush , whose final year in office was 2008.
Caveney said that ConocoPhillips’ expenses were also up, in part, because its 2009 report includes changes in the way it reports lobbying: It now includes state as well as federal lobbying expenses on its disclosure forms to Congress.
Now that the Democrats control both Congress and the White House, ConocoPhillips is looking for a Democrat to fill a lobbyist vacancy, but many good prospects have taken Capitol Hill jobs, said Caveney, who was hired at the oil company this year after serving as president of the industry trade association, the American Petroleum Institute (API).