Gardner to soak up funds at event hosted by BP lobbyist

If he’s as “spineless” as Cory Gardner’s race-baiting critics say he is, it’s probably really hard to say no to oil and gas money – even if it is soaked in BP sludge.

The Sunlight Foundation’s Party Time blog reported Tuesday that Gardner, the Republican candidate for Colorado’s hotly contested 4th Congressional District, will be the beneficiary Thursday of a $1,000-a-plate luncheon in Washington co-hosted by BP lobbyist Dan Meyer.

Rep. Cory Gardner

“Amidst the biggest oil spill in U.S. history, a series of public relations foibles, and public outrage against BP, the company’s lobbyists are continuing to work the Washington circuit,” the blog notes, adding that Meyer – now with the Duberstein Group – was assistant to the president for legislative affairs under George W. Bush.

In a tight contest with incumbent Democrat Betsy Markey and fresh off a stink over his canceled fundraiser featuring firebrand conservative U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa – who keeps insisting President Obama is a racist – Gardner would seemingly want to stay out of the fray for a few days.

Taking money tied to BP doesn’t seem like the best way to do that, especially when the district you’re trying to represent includes some of the most intensive drilling activity in the state in Weld County (although it should be noted BP doesn’t drill there – just builds massive wind farms). BP does, however, have a big footprint in southwestern Colorado.

Gardner has a long history of shilling for the O&G industry. He helped set up the industry Astroturf group Western Skies Coalition – aimed at using extractive energy funding to take back the Colorado Senate in 2008 – and proudly signed WSC’s “Energy Action Plan” pledge.

He rarely misses a chance to demonize Democrats for over-regulating the industry and killing high-paying if cyclical jobs in the various gas patches around the state and Western Skies or some other such industry front may yet rear its hydra-like heads in the upcoming mid-term elections. So maybe a BP fundraiser in D.C. makes perfect sense.

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