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(Jim Lo Scalzo for USN&WR)
The oil and gas industry has contributed more than $7.5 million to members of the 111th Congress thus far in the 2010 election cycle. That makes the industry the 15th most generous out of 80 tracked by the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research group which compiles campaign finance data.
The confluence of the impending November elections and the oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico have brought the influence of oil and gas campaign contributions into the spotlight. The industry's $7,504,019 in contributions to members of the 111th Congress puts it behind such big industries as lawyers and law firms (No. 1), securities and investment (No. 4), and pharmaceuticals and health products (No. 9). (Corporations and labor unions are legally barred from contributing to federal candidates, so these figures reflect contributions from industry employees, their families, and political action committees.)