The Gulf oil spill has created a bonanza for oil industry lobbyists, as the firms involved ramp up damage control and the industry as a whole works to fight new anti-drilling legislation. The American Petroleum Institute, the chief lobbying group for big oil, spent $2.3 million between April 1 and June 30—a huge jump from the $1.3 million it spent during the first quarter, the LA Times reports.
Transocean, the owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig, had never spent any money on lobbying before the accident, but has paid $110,000 to a lobbying group and even more on lawyers and PR consultants. BP itself was already a big spender, but it, too, has increased efforts and is contracting James Lee Witt, the head of FEMA under Clinton, to represent the firm. Oil firms are especially fond of former federal officials like Witt—three out of four industry lobbyists have worked for the government, the Washington Post reports.