Oil money flowed to Calif. senators who blocked fracking moratorium

An oil field in Lost Hills, Calif.
(David McNew / Getty Images)

A week after the California Senate rejected a moratorium on fracking in the state, a watchdog group said those who opposed the bill or abstained from voting on it received significantly more campaign money from the oil and gas industry than supporters of the measure.

Senators who opposed the bill received 14 times as much in campaign contributions from the industry, on average $25,227, than those who supported the measure, who on average received $1,772 during the four years ending Dec. 31, 2012.

The analysis was conducted by MapLight, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that seeks to reveal money’s influence on politics.


Sen. Jeanne Fuller (R-Bakersfield) voted against the bill after receiving $52,300 in campaign contributions from the industry, the most of any senator who voted on the bill, MapLight said. Among Democrats who opposed the bill, Sen. Cathleen Galgiani of Stockton received the most from the industry: $24,950.

The moratorium failed on a 16-16 vote after eight Democrats abstained.

MapLight found that the Democrats who abstained from voting received, on average, 4.5 times as much campaign cash from the industry as Democrats who supported the bill.

Still, among active Democratic Senators who abstained, Sen. Ben Hueso of Logan Heights received $12,400 from the industry and Sen. Ricardo Lara of Bell Gardens accepted $21,300.