Lobbyists Cash In on Oil Spill

Lobbyists and PR pros are cashing in on the oil spill ravaging the Gulf of Mexico as offshore drilling and environmental groups shell out big bucks to convince lawmakers to push for their favored legislation. Transocean, which owned and operated the Deepwater Horizon, spent nothing on lobbying before the rig’s April 20 explosion. Since then, it’s spent $110,000 to lobby on energy bills, and a seven-figure sum on media consultants and lawyers. The oil industry group American Petroleum Institute has spent $2.3 million since March, almost doubling its lobbying outlays. BP has hired big-name lobbyists with deep ties to government, getting help with veterans of the Clinton and Reagan administrations. The Environmental Defense fund increased its lobbying from $522,000 to $670,000 from the first quarter to the second, and the Wilderness Society boosted its spending from $61,000 to $99,000. A Sierra Club lobbyist said the numbers reflect an “all-hands-on-deck situation.”