Pressure is growing on prominent oil companies, such as Exxon and Chevron, to cut financial ties with key Republican members of Congress who have adopted Trump’s false narrative that the election was somehow stolen.
Many view these elected representatives as partly responsible for giving the oxygen and encouragement to the pro-Trump mob who beat and bulldozed their way into the U.S. Capitol building nearly a week ago, leading to the deaths of five people.
A great investigation by Brian Kahn and Dhruv Mehrotra from Earther last week, followed up with analysis by Greenpeace and Open Secrets, has revealed many of those who were speaking out against the election results at the exact moment the Capitol building was being invaded are long-term recipients of oil money. It is widely perceived that their continued and vocal opposition to the presidential election results no doubt emboldened the rioters.
Chief amongst them is Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, who were amongst the 123 House Republicans and dozen Republican senators “who invoked conspiracy theories to challenge the election results.”
Many of those people “are in power” thanks to the political donations of none other than Chevron and Exxon. Cruz himself was speaking against the election results as the thugs broke into the building.
Earther analyzed data from the Federal Election Commission and Open Secrets to examine funding from the Political Action Committees of Chevron, Exxon, and the American Petroleum Institute. Over the last decade, Chevron’s corporate PAC donated $745,000 to the House members and over $127,000 to the “seditious senators.” Exxon donated $1.5 million, with the API donating $135,500.
Open Secrets added its own analysis, calculating that in total the oil and gas industry had donated $9.2 million to the 147 Republican lawmakers who objected to states’ election results.
Greenpeace also analyzed the oil and gas political donations, including from corporate PACs and employees, to the seven senators who they called were at the “vanguard of the anti-democratic failed coup”. In total they had received a whopping $5,468,182 over the course of their careers from the oil industry. They include:
- Ted Cruz (R-TX): $3,770,950
- Cynthia Lummis (R-WY): $603,176
- Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS): $352,829
- Josh Hawley (R-MO): $262,463
- Roger Marshall (R-KA): $194,083
- Rick Scott (R-FL): $174,152
- Tommy Tuberville (R-AL): $110,529
In response, Greenpeace USA Senior Climate Campaigner John Noël said that “these corporations and their executives are a part of the white supremacist power structure attempting to undermine our democracy and it will be up to the incoming Biden administration to hold them accountable.”
Although there have been statements over the last week from Chevron and American Petroleum Institute condemning the violence, yesterday, Brian Kahn from Earther tweeted that the companies had yet to get back to him regarding stopping funding the “seditious” politicians.
Just a heads up I am still waiting for Exxon, Chevron or API to get back to me with actual answers on if they’ll stop funding seditious members of Congress https://t.co/Kpp7Y6jPIx
— Brian Kahn (@blkahn) January 11, 2021
Meanwhile, others are taking action: Yesterday, Forbes reported that “in the wake of the U.S. Capitol attacks, scores of major corporations and banks have said they are altering or reviewing the political donations made through their PACs, with many suspending contributions specifically to the Republican members of Congress who challenged the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.”
Other political commentators have noted that the “dam has burst” after last week, with dozens of corporations pulling funding to those who had voted to overturn the election results.
BP tweeted that it was stopping contributions from employees for six months, with many commentators on Twitter asking why the company was not making the ban permanent:
The bp employee political action committee will pause all contributions for six months. During this time the PAC will reevaluate its criteria for candidate support.
— bp America (@bp_America) January 11, 2021
Exxon, always the oil industry dinosaur, was said to still be “reviewing its political giving.”
Meanwhile, Desmog notes that many of the climate denial groups that historically were also funded by Exxon, “moved rapidly to spread false and misleading conspiracy theories online during and after the attack on the U.S. Capitol.”
Meanwhile, Exxon’s official twitter account has remained dormant since January 5th.