Pro-Vitter super PAC fueled by energy interests

Companies tied to offshore drilling are supporting Sen. David Vitter's run for La. governor



Republican Sen. David Vitter, who announced last week he’ll be running for governor of Louisiana in 2015, joins the race with powerful energy interests at his side.

A super PAC that supports his candidacy, the Fund for Louisiana's Future, raised $1.5 million last year, according to a new Federal Election Commission filing.

More than $900,000, or nearly two-thirds of the total the group reported receiving in 2013, came from energy and energy services companies, as well as their employees and their advocates.

Lockport, La.-based Bollinger Shipyards, Inc., for instance, gave the fund $100,000, while Hornbeck Offshore Operators LLC, which is based in Covington, La., gave $25,000.

The political group also received $100,000 from the American Chemistry Council — whose members include Marathon Petroleum, Northern Tier Energy and affiliates of BP, Chevron, Shell and ExxonMobil — and $30,000 from Valero Energy's political action committee.

Many of the contributions were tied to offshore drilling — which helps fuel Louisiana’s economy but has also been antagonistic to other key industries such as fishing and tourism.

The PAC hunted for cash — and alligators — last year at its Louisiana Bayou Weekend fundraiser, which featured Vitter as a guest. Vitter and the PAC can’t coordinate their spending but they can hold fundraisers together, with some restrictions.

The Fund for Louisiana’s Future is currently pushing to make Louisiana lift its $100,000 limit on contributions to PACs.

Neither Vitter nor a representative of the Fund for Louisiana’s Future immediately responded to calls and emails seeking comment.

Alison Fitzgerald contributed to this report.