07/19/2010 05:58 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

BP Oil Spill Motivates Sum

With the oil spill once again announced as "under control," amidst the chaos, confusion, and the loss of livelihoods, sea life, bird life and beaches, there are some who are trying to benefit from this man-made catastrophe.

We are not now referring to the two major political parties who use any calamity to berate the opposition, for that is a known as they both try to pump up voters with their pre-mid-term election rhetoric. The Republicans are blaming Obama and the Democrats for lollygagging too long and not sending their constituents down to the seashore with buckets, mops and sponges to clean up the mess. The Democrats are blaming the GOP and the Bush administration for tacitly allowing the oil industry and other corporate donors to regulate themselves.

Among the potential benefactors of this disaster are organizations in perpetual need of fundraising to maintain their operation and their existence. Some progressive entities have sent pleas through both postal and e-mail mail trying to capitalize on BP's actions (or lack of actions), to stimulate financial support.

A Sierra Club's mailing in a plain brown business-size envelope had "We Must Hold BP Accountable" emblazoned on it in red. Inside there's a full-color photograph of an oil covered pelican and an "Enough is Enough" theme capped off with a plea for funding asking the recipient to "Support the Sierra Club's National Campaign to End Catastrophically Destructive Off-Shore Drilling and Move Our Nation Toward a Clean, Safe, Renewable Energy Future." A seemingly worthy endeavor and they provide an easy-to-fill-out "Petition To President Barack Obama" as well as a "Petition to BP Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward" to which you can easily affix your signature under the words "Extremely Concerned." After signing these two petitions, they are to be placed in a Sierra Club return envelope along with another form indicating the size of your contribution to their organization and a matching check.

The Nation magazine uses the oil spill as the basis of a sales pitch "for one of our favorite advertisers, CREDO Mobile," declaring it to be the "one phone company that donates a portion of its profits to progressive non-profit organizations while offering peerless service." It sounds like a beneficent way to communicate and then comes the BP oil spill, fund-raising connection by describing the dastardly deeds of one of CREDO's competitors. "AT&T has also contributed to Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, who publicly apologized to BP for the Obama administration's attempts to hold it accountable for the disastrous oil spill."

In a convoluted way, it's fair enough in today's political them vs. us society to connect AT & T with perennial foot-in-his-mouth Republican Joe Barton, but it misleads the reader by fostering the impression that the all-too-large AT&T is a giver only to conservative Republican candidates. According to, thus far this year AT&T has donated $1,402,769 to Republican candidates and $1,327,945 to Democrats. This doling out of dollars with both their left and their right hands is a common corporate practice. They are hedging their bets trying to ensure that they are influencing anyone and everyone in Congress to look favorably upon them comes regulation time.

While it seems that this post sounds a bit like an anti-progressive screed, as of this time I haven't received one single request for funds from any organization on the right. It's not that they aren't out there using similar tactics to raise moneys; it's because they know that when it comes to digging deep for donations to their causes, mine is a well that's dry. Wish we could say the same for BP's.