A leading government accountability watchdog on Tuesday called out leaders of the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives while revealing that the 21 GOP members appointed by Speaker Kevin McCarthy to the Natural Resources Committee took a combined $3.8 million in campaign contributions from Big Oil.
Oil and gas industry contributions to the 21 right-wing lawmakers range from more than $850,000 for Rep. Garret Graves of Louisiana—the nation's third-biggest fossil gas producer and a top-10 oil-producing state—to $18,800 for Rep. Mike Collins of Georgia, according to Accountable.US.
"The new MAGA-controlled House Natural Resources Committee aligns much closer with violent anti-public land extremists like the Bundys than they do with most Americans," the group said in a statement, referring to former President Donald Trump's "Make America Great Again" 2016 campaign slogan and the Nevada family that perpetrated an armed confrontation with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management over unpaid cattle grazing fees.
Of the Republicans on the committee, five outright oppose federal public lands, most have demonstrated support for election denial, and all have supported policies to expand industry-friendly federal leasing to Big Oil and other extractive sectors. While nearly all of the members have received donations from oil and gas companies, several have personal financial conflicts of interest in the form of either spousal employment or stock holdings.
"Big Oil's investment is already paying off," said Jordan Schreiber, director of energy and environment at Accountable.US. "McCarthy and his MAGA allies wasted no time delivering results for their wealthy industry donors, placing nine of the most extreme anti-conservation members on the House Natural Resources Committee."
"Instead of holding Big Oil executives accountable for price gouging consumers at the pump, the committee will be dominated by the interests of extractive industries, enabling them to push bills that stymie cost controls, and clear the way for multibillion dollar corporations to exploit the American people's land for private gain," Schreiber added.
In addition to highlighting the money that the lawmakers have taken from the fossil fuel industry, the new report notes relevant actions and remarks, from Graves describing President Joe Biden's climate plan as "ushering in a Soviet-style state" to Rep. Harriet Hageman of Wyoming comparing conservation efforts to dictators starving and killing people, claiming that "it's about controlling people through controlling the food supply."