TV Ads Slam GOP Members for Taking 'Big Oil' Donations

By Monisha Bansal | July 7, 2008 | 8:22 PM EDT

( - Four Republican House members are being targeted for defeat by the liberal activist group Political Action, which points to campaign contributions from oil companies as the reason why the GOP members should be tossed out in November.

A ten-day television advertising campaign began Monday, alleging that Reps. Chris Chocola (R-Ind.), Thelma Drake (R-Va.), Nancy Johnson (R-Conn.) and Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio) favor big oil companies to "ordinary Americans."

The Republicans are criticized in the ads "for taking money from oil and energy companies and then supporting laws that give away billions to these companies while ordinary Americans pay more at the pump," according to Political Action.

Chocola, Drake, Johnson and Pryce voted against a measure that would have allowed the U.S. Justice Department to prosecute oil companies accused of price gouging, according to the activist group.

"We're making sure everyone in these districts is aware of their members' ties to big oil companies," said Jennifer Lindenauer, communications director for Political Action.

"These ads, which will run at saturation in four congressional districts for virtually everyone in those districts to see, will help us get the word out," she said. "We need real leaders in the House of Representatives who will represent their constituents, not Exxon/Mobil, BP, Shell and Texaco."

The four incumbents being targeted have significant financial advantages over their Democratic challengers at this point in the election cycle. Pryce for example, has more than $943,000 in cash on hand, while her Democratic challenger in Ohio's 15th district --Mary Jo Kilroy -- has less than $169,000 on hand, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which monitors campaign contributions.

However, hopes to reverse that trend. "We're working hard to broaden the 2006 battlefield. As more and more people realize that the House is up for grabs, that'll open the floodgates in terms of energy and support from our members," said Eli Pariser, the group's executive director.

Myron Ebell, director for energy and global warming policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute told Cybercast News Service that the activists "are desperate."

"They want to put the blame of higher gas prices on someone," Ebell said.

There are many factors contributing to high gasoline prices, he added, but price gouging is not among them.

"Over the past 30 years there have been many, many investigations by the Justice Department and other state agencies, but not a single one has ever found evidence of price gouging or collusion," Ebell said.

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