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.