According to a report recently released by the National Institute on Money in State Politics, politicians in the Gulf of Mexico are awash in oil and gas industry contributions.

Oil and gas companies, along with their owners and employees, gave $21.1 million to the campaigns for state elected officials between 2003 and 2008 in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.

Sitting members of the Texas Railroad Commission, which issues permits for oil and gas drilling, collected $2.6 million between 2004 and 2008 from individuals and companies associated with the oil and gas industry – a total of 31 percent of their campaign contributions.

Oil and gas industry lobbyists also swarm Gulf state governments. A total of 627 lobbyists were employed from 2006 to 2008 by oil and gas companies in the Gulf states, including 72 for ExxonMobil, 47 for Chevron, 39 for Koch Industries, and 27 for BP.

While BP and the other companies involved in the Gulf spill made smaller contributions and had fewer lobbyists than some other industry players, you can bet that dirty oil money – and industry lobbying – continues to play a big role in calling for more drilling in the Gulf.

For a look at how much your Federal representatives are taking from the oil industry, go to www.followtheoilmoney.org