Freshman U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner pulled in more campaign contributions than any other congressional candidate in the second quarter of the year, according to the Greeley Tribune, with more than 10 percent of the funds coming from mining, oil and gas companies.
The Republican lawmaker in the mineral-rich 4th Congressional District of northeastern Colorado has been a consistent proponent of more domestic drilling and mining.
“The policies promulgated by [the Obama] administration continue to promote energy production overseas, leaving our resources largely untapped,” Gardner says on his website. “Moving forward with energy production at home can influence prices today by building in expectations about future outputs. It also creates good-paying jobs and lays the groundwork for fewer imports in the future.”
Gardner took in $300,412.32 in the quarter ending June 30, with $32,000 (11 percent) coming “from donors — either individuals or political action committees — who are connected to companies or institutions with oil, gas and mining operations,” according to the Tribune.
Tyler Q. Houlton, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said that makes sense given Gardner’s leadership as a lawmaker on energy issues.
“Congressman Gardner’s leadership on the House Energy and Commerce Committee has won him praise and support from his Colorado constituents, as well as the energy industry,” Houlton told the paper. “Gardner’s unwavering commitment to reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil, while simultaneously working to create jobs in America’s energy industry, is second to none.”
But critics of the former state lawmaker who beat out Democrat Betsy Markey in 2010 say Gardner’s been bought and sold by the energy industry to the detriment of the environment.
“Big Oil and Gas was the single biggest contributor to Rep. Gardner’s 2010 campaign,” said Gary Wockner of Clean Water Action. “After the Big Oil and Gas industry installed Rep. Gardner into office, they’ve gotten their money’s worth because Rep. Gardner has repeatedly voted to gut environmental regulations and increase these polluters’ profits ever since he got elected.”
Colorado Senate president Brandon Shaffer, Gardner’s Democratic opponent in 2012, didn’t announce his candidacy until after the second quarter ended.