lightning rod for sth

be a lightning rod for sth (be the person who gets all the blame or criticism in a bad situation, although you are not the only resposible for it, or are not responsible for it at all.) — стрелочник, козел отпущения; служить громоотводом

Example: During the Gulf War, oil companies like Chevron became lightning rods for the frustration of anti-war protesters even though they do not, as they said, "own or produce oil in the Persian Gulf".

see also
[whipping boy]
[fall guy]