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Kirk Accuses Giannoulias of Ties to BP

By Kevin Robinson in News on Jul 13, 2010 2:00PM

Republican Senate candidate Mark Kirk is accusing Democrat Alexi Giannoulias of being tied to BP, the global energy giant that is drowning under bad press from its oil spill in the Gulf Coast. In Kirk's newest campaign ad, the campaign accuses one of Giannoulias's "top aides" of being a "long time BP lobbyist." The Tribune is reporting that the aide in question, Endy Zemenides, was in fact a lobbyist for BP, but that the work she did was for BP gas stations around Chicago, not for the beleaguered multinational. Kirk dismissed the criticism at a press conference Monday. “A BP lobbyist is a BP lobbyist,” Kirk said. “When you register as a BP lobbyist, you’re a BP lobbyist.”

Kirk's campaign has also accepted $150,000 in contributions from Kirkland & Ellis, the Chicago-based law firm that is defending BP in the oil spill. Kirk tried to brush off that connection. “You could get into the second and third orders of both campaigns,” said Kirk. “BP hires lawyers, BP has accountants, BP has property managers. BP has had, because of its heritage from Standard Oil and Amoco, a tremendous economic impact on Chicagoland. So you can get into second and third order connections to BP with just about every family in Chicagoland.”

Got it? A BP lobbyist is a BP lobbyist. But it's cool to take money from businesses that represent BP. Got it, Kirk.