The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Rick Bielke,Communications Director,(Ph)202.293.0222 | (Fx)202.293.0202,

Watchdog: Tipton Took Big Bucks from Energy Interests, Did Their Bidding in Congress in 2011


As he voted repeatedly in favor of wasteful oil industry tax subsidies, freshman Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Colo.) was raising significant campaign cash from that industry, according to Public Campaign analysis of data from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the Center for Responsive Politics.

Tipton raised at least $64,425 from oil and gas interests during his first year in Congress, making the oil and gas industry his top group of donors in 2011. Added to the money he raised for his 2010 election, Tipton has received $118,575 from oil and gas donors since 2009. This includes donations from executives at SG Interests, an energy company with business interests in the district and which Tipton is involved as a mediator between the company and local citizens.

"Scott Tipton may be new to Congress, but he learned quickly the ways of Washington--vote for the right special interests and they'll reward you with campaign cash," said Nick Nyhart, president and CEO of Public Campaign. "He should be focused on the needs of his constituents, not the bottom line of his big campaign donors."

Key points from the analysis:

  • Tipton received $8,100 from donors at SG Interests based in Houston in 2011, a company that wants to increase drilling operations on public lands in Tipton's district, specifically the Thompson Divide area, in Garfield, Pitkin and Gunnison. Since he started running for Congress, Tipton has taken $15,300 from SG Interests company executives. While the campaign cash has been flowing in from SG interests, Tipton has been "trying to mediate " a solution between both SG Interests and the ranchers, local elected officials and citizens opposed to expanded drilling in the area.
  • Tipton voted to open up oil shale reserves with no required water study and voted at least twice against efforts to end wasteful oil company subsidies that cost taxpayers billions of dollars every year. In 2011, he received donations from the corporate PACs of companies like ExxonMobil ($5,000), Koch Industries ($2,000), and Western Petroleum ($5,000).
  • Tipton also received a large share of his campaign money from the finance sector, including from energy investment firms. He received $10,000 from the CEO and wife of the Anschutz Corporation, a company that invests in oil speculation. Since 2009, Tipton has received $255,492 from financial industry donors

Public Campaign is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to sweeping campaign reform that aims to dramatically reduce the role of big special interest money in American politics. Public Campaign is laying the foundation for reform by working with a broad range of organizations, including local community groups, around the country that are fighting for change and national organizations whose members are not fairly represented under the current campaign finance system. Together we are building a network of national and state-based efforts to create a powerful national force for federal and state campaign reform.