- The Washington Times - Monday, September 1, 2008

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, whose independence was touted when she was named Sen. John McCain´s vice-presidential pick Friday, collected at least $24,000 from registered state lobbyists in her gubernatorial campaign, records show.

The lobbyists who donated to her campaign represent a range of industries, including oil and gas, tobacco, education and the Native Alaskan community.

“She’s fought oil companies and party bosses and do-nothing bureaucrats and anyone who puts their interests before the interests of the people she swore an oath to serve,” Mr. McCain said Friday at an Ohio rally to introduce her as his running mate.

But since Mrs. Palin leads a major oil-producing state, that industry is one of her top donors.

She collected nearly $13,000 from lobbyists who represent oil and gas industries in her primary and general campaigns, according a review of her campaign donations and 2006 registered state lobbyists.

Her campaign also collected donations from lobbyist employees of most of the major oil companies, including BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc., Exxon Mobil Corp., Anadarko Petroleum Corp., Chevron USA Inc., ConocoPhillips Alaska Inc. and Shell Oil Co.

“Democrats have repeatedly tied McCain to the oil and gas industry,” the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington watchdog group, said in a report. “Will the opposition try to cast his running mate as ‘B-Palin´?”

But her donations from the industries are just a drop in the oil barrel compared with the $1.5 million Mr. McCain has collected from the industries in his campaign.

Her ties to the oil and gas industries, including her husband´s employment at BP, however, hasn´t stopped her from passing legislation harmful to them.

During her first year in office, she pushed through a tax increase on oil company profits, which has given the state´s treasury a healthy bump.

At the same time, she´s a proponent for petroleum development and building a natural-gas pipeline, which the industry supports. She´s also in favor of drilling in Alaska´s protected Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a point on which she differs with Mr. McCain.

Her maverick reputation, as pushed by the McCain campaign, came at the hands of the oil industry, as well.

As chairwoman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, she exposed the ethical violations of state Republican Party Chairman Randy Ruedrich. Mr. Ruedrich had to resign from the board and was fined $12,000.

Lobbyists made up about 2 percent of total donations to her 2006 campaign for governor.

Besides oil, her lobbyist donors represent industries such as tourism, mining, fishing, real estate and labor.

But approximately 90 percent of contributions to Ms. Palin´s gubernatorial campaign came from individuals, as opposed to groups or political action committees, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Of the PAC money she did receive, much of it came from groups that represent the travel industry, including cruise companies and airlines.

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