Even Big Oil Is Re-evaluating Political Donations

By Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer

Following the armed insurrection at the United States Capitol building on January 6, several major oil companies have announced that they will be suspending their political giving and reviewing their future giving criteria. ConocoPhillips, BP, ExxonMobil, and Chevron, now join the growing number of corporations re-evaluating which congressional members they will support after the president incited violence in the Capitol, and a number of Republican lawmakers questioned the certified results of the election.

Why This Matters: Fossil fuel money is shunned by most Democrats. But this could mark the end of a long love affair between the fossil fuel industry and the GOP.

  • In the last five years, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has received $1.6 million in political donations from the oil and gas industry.
  • ExxonMobil’s PAC has given almost $1.5 million to seditious House members in the last decade.
  • Chevron’s PAC has given $745,000 to seditious House members and over $127,000 to seditious Senators in the last decade.

It’s a new type of campaign finance “reform” – we will see how long it lasts.

Who Stands To Lose the Most?

The names on their very long lists of beneficiaries range from now-infamous names like Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) to less notorious members like Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) who was one of the only female lawmakers to challenge the election results. Without the support of the oil industry, many Republican lawmakers may be left out to dry when they find themselves up for re-election.

Trump himself has bent over backward to cater to the oil industry, rolling back protections on public lands and endangered species to clear the way for drilling and development. As recently as August, oil companies and executives poured millions of dollars into Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign. David Bookbinder, the general counsel for the Niskanen Center, may have spoken too soon when he said in August, “the fossil fuel industry and its leaders will continue to support Donald Trump because he will do anything he can to continue fossil fuel dominance of the American energy sector.”

However, just last week, all of the major oil companies skipped out on what was supposed to be the crowned jewel of Trump’s energy policy. After rolling back protections for Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to auction the land off for drilling, only three groups showed up to the lease auction, and half of the offered leases got no bids at all. Now, his active role in inciting the violence in D.C. has landed him even further from the good graces of his once good friends.

It’s not as if they are unique though.  A growing list of companies are now turning their backs on Trump and political donations all together. A long list of companies, including Blue Cross Blue Shield, Commerce Bank, Airbnb, and Marriott International have all stated that they will be suspending donations to any Congressional members that voted against the election results. Twitter and a host of other social media sites have now banned Trump from their platforms, and conservative Twitter dupe Parler has been taken off of the app store.

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