News » Chicken-Fried News

Oklahoma energy magnate doles out dollars to campaign causes



A wealthy Oklahoma energy magnate, heavily involved in the famous ad campaign against 2004 presidential candidate John Kerry, apparently has seen the light and is staying away from attack groups.

Oklahoma City resident and Chesapeake Energy Corp. CEO Aubrey McClendon was one of the financial backers of what was then called the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth during the last presidential race. The group criticized Kerry's Vietnam War record, claiming the Democratic presidential nominee lied about his military experience, for which the Pentagon honored Kerry. Known as a 527 group, an independent political organization, Swift Boat was credited by political pundits with damaging Kerry's campaign. The candidate narrowly lost to President George W. Bush.

McClendon gave the group $250,000 four years ago. But this time is different. McClendon told USA Today he is avoiding handing out contributions to 527 groups.

"They are too controversial," he told the newspaper, "and I'm not interested in generating political controversy."

That might be because he is having too much fun generating controversy with e-mails to fellow Seattle SuperSonics co-owner Clay Bennett (just a guess).

This year, McClendon is torn on his presidential preference. He has given $2,300 contributions to both Republican nominee John McCain and Democratic nominee Barack Obama, but told USA Today he has yet to pick a candidate to support.

The newspaper also pointed out the irony of how McCain four years ago condemned the Swift Boat group for its Kerry attacks, but this year has no problem accepting contributions from the same Swift Boat donors like McClendon.

Add a comment