Some campaign-spending watchdogs are barking up the money tree, wary of how many greenbacks the oil and gas industries are spending on congressional campaign funding this year.
The Citizen-Labor Energy Coalition - a private, nonprofit consumer group based in Washington - forecasts that US oil and gas companies (and their exectives and major investors), this fall may break their record for campaign spending.
According to the coalition report, oil and gas industries already have given have collected $3 million more to be distributed to candidates during the next several weeks.
If and when the $3 million reaches candidates' campaign coffers, the oil and gas industries' total contributions would exceed the record $6 million spent in 1980, the report says.
Coalition director Robert Brandon says that special-interest groups are trying to win votes on key legislative issues.
But oil and gas industry spokesmen deny that allegation, contending that labor organizations are spending huge amounts of money on congressional campaigns as well.
The report is based largely on campaign contributions that have been reported to the Federal Elections Commission.