Do Oil and Politics Mix? | News

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Do Oil and Politics Mix?

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Some analysts are predicting gas prices will jump 60 cents per gallon this spring.  We studied the flow of oil company donations to our Senators and members of Congress in the area, and found that the total donations since 2001 were around $400,000.

It's something most of us have to use every day, but just try finding someone who likes it.  "You got to use gas to work, so you got to do it," Anthony Paolucci said.

Some of that money you're paying at the pump goes from your pocket to the oil companies, then straight to your elected leaders. 

According to the website, of the politicians we researched, Sen. Marco Rubio is at the top, collecting $200,750 since 2010. 

Congresswoman Corrine Brown is at the other end of the oil money spectrum, collecting $9,100 since 2001.  The other politicians fall somewhere in between.

"It often times can't buy the votes directly, but, it does provide that access," Jacksonville University political science professor Dr. Stephen Baker said. 

While the paper trail clearly shows which politicians accept big oil money, Baker said finding the real impact of oil and politics remains a mystery. 

"But even if the politicians weren't involved, you still have all the use of super PACs which now make it so much easier for money being put into the system without being traced," Baker said.

Even though you hear politicians making big promises of controlling the cost of oil, Baker said in reality there's not much they can do about the price.

But they do have other powers, and that's part of the reason why oil companies try to remain friendly by giving money. 

"There's going to be an enormous demand for tax increases, and the oil companies are prime targets for that," Baker said.

We reached out to all of our senators and congress members for a comment on this story.  They were not in session today, so we only received two responses. 

Congresswoman Corrine Brown's office sent a news release promoting the benefits of a proposal for travel by rail. 

Congressman Cliff Stearns's office sent an e-mail promoting domestic oil production.


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