EXCLUSIVE: Debunking the myth of Obama's "BP cash"

Blog ››› ››› JULIE MILLICAN & ERIC SCHROECK

On Sunday's Fox News Sunday, Fox News contributor Sarah Palin ludicrously attempted to tie BP to the Obama administration by suggesting that President Obama was beholden to the corporation because of campaign donations he has received. She wondered why no one was asking "if there's any connection with the contributions made to President Obama and his administration and the support by the oil companies to the administration -- if there's any connection there to President Obama taking so doggone long to get in there, to dive in there and grasp the complexity and the potential tragedy that we are seeing here in the Gulf of Mexico."

Like clockwork, media outlets seized on Palin's accusation and cited Center for Responsive Politics' calculation that Obama had received $71,051 in BP-linked contributions for his presidential campaign. Only problem is, contrary to Palin's and the media's suggestions, all of that money came from BP employees, not BP the company. A spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics confirmed Monday that "the $71,051 that Obama received during the 2008 election cycle was entirely from BP employees." The CRP spokesman also stated that "Obama did not accept contributions from political action committees, so none of this money is from BP's PAC. And corporations themselves are prohibited from donating directly to candidates from their corporate treasuries."

Why is this an important distinction? Because Obama raised far more money than any other candidate ever has, therefore, it is completely unsurprising that Obama also received the most amount of money from BP employees. Moreover, BP-linked contributions to Obama's campaign are a drop in the bucket when compared to Obama's total campaign haul. In addition to the $71,051 Obama received from BP-linked contributors in 2008, Obama's 2004 Senate campaign raised $6,000 from BP-linked sources, bringing Obama's total BP-related campaign contributions to 77,051. This represents less than .01 percent of the nearly $800 million that Obama raised for his campaigns.

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