Texas' two senators near top of the list for taking money from fossil fuel industry

Together, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz have raked in $9.7 million in fossil-fuel industry contributions since 1990, a new report shows.

click to enlarge U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz (left to right) raked in more campaign contributions from the oil industry than any other senator but Mitt Romney, a two-time presidential candidate. - Wikimedia Commons / Gage Skidmore
Wikimedia Commons / Gage Skidmore
U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz (left to right) raked in more campaign contributions from the oil industry than any other senator but Mitt Romney, a two-time presidential candidate.
In Texas, the oil and gas industry has long wielded an outsized political influence. Now, a new analysis of campaign finance records shines fresh light on just how significant that influence is.

Texas' two Republican U.S. Senators, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, have individually received more campaign funds from the fossil fuel industry since 1990 than any of their colleagues in the upper chamber save one, according to a report from nonpartisan watchdog group Open Secrets.

Cornyn has racked up $4,947,300 in contributions from the industry since 1990, while Cruz has drawn $4,796,389, Open Secrets reports. Both are among Washington's most unwavering supporters of unbridled oil and gas development, and both have repeatedly questioned the reality of human-caused climate change.

Only U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, who ran for president in 2008 and 2012, grabbing his party's nomination the second time, received more from the industry over that period. His haul totaled $8,519,708, according to the report.

Open Secrets found that the fossil fuel industry spent some $2.8 billion on federal lobbying from 1998 to 2023. Companies in that sector also regularly outspend environmental interest groups both on federal lobbying and campaign contributions, according to the group's number crunching.

The report also shows that oil and gas industry contributions have overwhelmingly flowed to Republicans, who have largely placed industry profits ahead of efforts to limit greenhouse emissions.

"Groups like the American Petroleum Institute and the Koch-connected Americans for Prosperity have taken up the mantle of protecting the oil and gas industry against international pressure to scale back development," Open Secrets writes.

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Sanford Nowlin

Sanford Nowlin is editor-in-chief of the San Antonio Current.

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