Even after the Gulf oil spill left an entire bioregion and a large part of its economy devastated, lobbyists were busy on Capitol Hill giving large sums of money (in the millions) to any elected official who would take it — some estimate upwards of $14 million.
In 2009, the oil and gas industry spent a whopping $169 million, with BP more than quadrupling its lobbying efforts. The figure in 2010, an election year, is expected to far outstrip that number.
Defenders of Wildlife are using the cool Change.org widget which tracks e-mails, Facebook and Twitter links in an attempt to spread the petition as far and wide as possible. It is daring in that it direclty addresses the tacit corruption endemic on Capitol Hill right now. To keep up with contenders, politicians from both sides of the aisle have become caught up in a fundraising game that no one seems capable of escaping.
This petition is symbolic, but it is an important first step in waking up to our responsibility as U.S. citizens — we have to hold our elected officials accountable. If we don't, who will?
If you want to see how much cashola your elected officials have received, check out the awesome Find the Oil Money website.