May 04, 2011 1:42 pm ET - by Brian Powell
Loyal Republican donors are finding their money well spent as they are once again offered the opportunity to advocate their agendas before members of Congress — and as usual, it's Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and his House Oversight Committee who are providing the forum. On Friday, Issa will hold yet another field hearing for the Oversight Committee, this time in Bakersfield, CA. It's titled "Pathways to Energy Independence: Hydraulic Fracturing and Other New Technologies."
Issa has given fellow Californian and House Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy the reins to help organize the hearing (subscription required for link), and the result is predictable: Witnesses will include Republicans and Big Oil representatives who, in addition to stashing vast amounts of money in the coffers of other congressional Republicans, have combined to stuff $25,500 into McCarthy's pockets over the past few years.
First up is loyal Republican Shannon Grove (born Smith), a California state assembly member and CEO of Continental Labor, who donated $2,900 to McCarthy during the 2010 cycle and $9,500 over his career. Grove has also been a contributor to the Republican Party of California and to the campaign of former John McCain advisor and failed Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina.
Next is Rock Zierman, CEO of the California Independent Petroleum Association (CIPA), a strong supporter of hydraulic fracturing. CIPA's PAC gave McCarthy $7,500 in 2010. They gave McCarthy $6,500 in 2008 and another $2,000 in 2006. CIPA also sent $2,500 Issa's way during the last cycle.
Among the remaining witnesses is William Whitsitt, the Executive Vice President for Public Affairs of Devon Energy. Ninety percent of the $301,000 Devon's PAC gave to congressional candidates in the last cycle went to Republican candidates.
Finally, Tupper Hull, the Vice President of Strategic Communications for the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), will appear before the Oversight Committee to advocate the interests of Big Oil companies. WSPA's members have donated tens of thousands of dollars to McCarthy. Occidental Petroleum has donated $21,000. Chevron has donated $17,500. Overall, McCarthy received over $68,000 in contributions from the oil and gas industry in the 2010 campaign cycle alone.
Indeed, Friday's witnesses and their organizations have accounted for hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions to Republican campaigns.
McCarthy's and Issa's tactics in choosing witnesses essentially relegates the congressional record to a subscription service — help them get elected and they'll give you an official forum to advance your ideas in front of some of the most powerful men and women in government.
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