On Friday the Denver Post published a report detailing how ExxonMobil pulled in $11.7 billion last quarter, the largest quarterly profit of any American corporation in history. The piece, by Michael Riley, detailed how, despite obvious contradictions, Republicans seem to be succeeding in blaming the Democrats for current gas prices. Let’s now consider ExxonMobil CEO Rex W. Tillerson, whose total compensation package last year was $4.13 million. Oh yeah, and over the past four years he has pumped more than $55,000 of his personal wealth into campaigns to elect, duh, Republicans.
This little quest for truth started with Riley’s excellent news analysis detailing ExxonMobil’s $11.7 billion in profit last quarter, while the rest of us schmoes are paying $4 a gallon for gas.
At the heart of the apparent contradiction lies the GOP’s biggest gamble of the election year: Even though gas prices have risen dramatically under a Republican White House, one largely sympathetic to the industry, the pain drivers are feeling at the gas pump can be laid at Democrats’ door. It’s unconventional, even audacious. And it seems to be working.
But there are kinks in the armor, and Thursday’s profit reports by oil companies may be one example.
Exxon Mobil announced that it made $11.7 billion last quarter, the largest quarterly profit of any American corporation in history. Last year, the revenues of the top five oil companies combined totaled $1.5 trillion, more than the gross domestic product of Canada.
The success of the Republican strategy, tied as it is to support for domestic drilling and industry tax breaks, turns on whether voters see oil companies as key to U.S. energy independence or cynical corporations laughing all the way to the bank.
The liberal group ProgressNow followed up the story with a petition drive demanding an end to government subsidies and special tax breaks for Big Oil.
Meanwhile, according to Forbes.com, which keeps track of the millions and billions being raked in by the obscenely rich, last year the above-mentioned ExxonMobil CEO Tillerson carted home, no doubt in his personal armored limo, a compensation package of $4.13 million.
That translates to a paycheck of more than $11,315 every day, including Christmas, Easter and the 4th of July.
But what to do with all that dough? Since 2004 Tillerson, along with his wife, have pumped $55,350, not to Democrats to raise gas prices, but to Republican campaigns – ranging from George W. Bush’s re-election to the National Republican Congressional Committee to the Texas Republican Congressional Committee.
And if you need some further depression on a Monday morning, consider that Tillerson, who is 53 years old, isn’t even close to the top of the highest-paid oil and gas executives, according to Forbes.com. Nope, Tillerson comes in at No. 19.
According to Forbes.com, the five highest-paid oil executives are as follows:
No. 1 — Ray R Iran, Occidential Petroleum, pulling in a compensation package of nearly $81 million.
No. 2 — John G Drosdick, Sunoco, is paid more than $46 million.
No. 3 — Clarence P Cazalot Jr., Marathon Oil, “earns” nearly $37.5 million every year.
No. 4 — Mark G Papa, EOG Resources, makes $36.54 million this year.
No. 5 — Bob R Simpson, XTO Energy, has an annual compensation rate of more than $32 million.