White House press secretary Robert Gibbs today called “silly and ridiculous” any idea that the Obama administration granted BP an exemption to drill for oil in the Gulf of Mexico because of campaign contributions from BP and its employees.
Yesterday the Washington Post reported that in April 2009 the Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service granted BP’s lease at Deepwater Horizon a “categorical exclusion” from a detailed environmental impact analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act.
The Center for Responsive Politics noted last week that candidates for federal office have received more than $3.5 million from BP and its employees in the past 20 years. CRP reported that the “top recipient of BP-related donations during the 2008 cycle was President Barack Obama himself, who collected $71,000.”
Asked his response to anyone wondering about any possible connection between the campaign cash and the regulatory exemption, Gibbs said “I would say that's silly and ridiculous.”