'Big Oil' Money Seeps Into Lieberman Senate Campaign

By Scott Hogenson | July 7, 2008 | 8:26 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - When Sen. Joseph Lieberman joined Al Gore on the Democratic ticket this week, an appropriate news release was added to the Gore campaign Internet website. Included in the release is a list of priorities in a Gore/Lieberman White House, the first of which is "fighting against big oil."

The campaign notes that while serving as Connecticut attorney general in 1986, Lieberman "took on Big Oil after evidence of price-gouging came to his attention. He filed a lawsuit against Exxon Corp., Mobil Corp., Texaco Inc., and Sun Oil Co. - accusing them of violating anti-trust laws by charging retail and wholesale customers different prices for gasoline," according to the Gore 2000 website.

But absent from the site is any mention of the money Lieberman's 2000 Senate reelection campaign has received from major oil industry players, including some that have contributed to the presidential campaign of George W. Bush, who's routinely charged by Gore with being too cozy with the oil industry.

Federal Election Commission records compiled by the non-partisan group FECInfo show that Lieberman's 2000 Senate campaign has taken political action committee money from Koch Industries and Atlantic Richfield, both of which have also made contributions to the Bush 2000 campaign.

Also contributing to Lieberman's 2000 Senate reelection effort is the PAC for Texaco, one of the targets of Lieberman's anti-trust action in the 1980s. The FECInfo compilation shows that Lieberman so far has received $4,000 from Koch Industries, $3,000 from Texaco and $1,000 from Atlantic Richfield.

FECInfo data through August 1, 2000 indicate that the Gore presidential campaign has not received any contributions from major oil industry PACs, while the Bush campaign has received $28,385 from oil and gas PACs. Bush also received an additional $27,000 in contributions from various petroleum-refining interests.

The Gore campaign would not respond to numerous requests for comment, so it's not known whether Lieberman will be asked about the oil industry contributions to his Senate race or whether the money will be returned. The Bush camp had no problem with Lieberman's acceptance of PAC money from the oil industry, but a campaign official said it reflected a "leadership gap" in the Gore campaign.

"We know that Joe Lieberman is a good man," said Bush spokesman Dan Bartlett. "What it does bring into question is Al Gore's convictions. If he's willing to attack and savage Governor Bush on positions that (Lieberman) shares, then you must ask the question 'what does Al Gore believe?'"