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A pair of reports were published on Tuesday after a condemnation expose showing secretly recorded ExxonMobil lobbyists are further enlightened by the fossil fuel giant’s efforts to influence powerful centrists in Congress and others.
Kate Aronoff of the New Republic Revelation that “thought -centric tanks are ruining Exxon’s cash,” citing a company report, while HuffPost’s Alexander Kaufman examined an analysis by the U.S. Oil Change advocacy group on the campaign contributions of six U.S. Democratic senators named in Unearthed’s June exposé.
The videos from Unearthed, the investigative journalism arm of Greenpeace UK, have a current and a former ExxonMobil employee, Keith McCoy and Dan Easley, thinking they discussed the company’s lobbying efforts with a consultant in recruitment.
“This footage confirms what we all know. Exxon continues to deliberately block the necessary climate action to reduce accountability.” @ 350
– Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (@RobertKennedyJr) July 3, 2021
While ExxonMobil chairman and CEO Darren Woods claimed that both McCoy and Easley made “disturbing and inaccurate comments about our positions on a variety of issues, including climate change policy, and our engagement with elected officials,” the account adds to the company’s auditing and financial analysis over the past two weeks.
The U.S. Oil Change analysis focused on the campaign vulgarizations of the six Democratic lawmakers McCoy mentioned: Sens. Chris Coons (Del.), Maggie Hassan (NH), Mark Kelly (Ariz.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Kyrsten Cinema (Ariz.), And Jon Tester (Mont.).
Lobbyists are now working to preserve fossil fuel subsidies and block climate action.
– Collin Rees #DefundThePolice (@collinrees) July 13, 2021
Asked in a video call in May which lawmakers the lawmaker was targeting, McCoy first named Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (RW.Va.), member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. He continues:
“Joe Manchin, I talk to his office every week. He’s the kingmaker of it because he’s a Democrat from West Virginia, that is [a] very conservative state… and he is not ashamed of the different preservation of his claim early and complete change in the debate. On the Democrat side we are looking for moderates on these issues. So, these are the Manchins. This is Cinema. These are the Tests.
“Sen. Coons… have a close relationship [President Joe] Biden, so we work in his office – like something our CEO talked to him the next Tuesday and had talks and just focused on it, and that way I could start working with his staff to let them know where we are on some of the issues. “
The other Republican named McCoy is Sens. John Barrasso (Wyo.), John Cornyn (Texas), Steve Daines (Mont.), And Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). He said it’s easier to talk to senators who will be re -elected in 2022 – like Rubio, Kelly and Hassan – “because they’re captivating audiences, they know they need you and I need them.”
Collin Rees, the senior U.S. Oil Change campaigner who conducted the new analysis, found that in the past decade, the six Democrats collectively received nearly $ 333,000 from lobbyists, political action committees ( PACs), and lobbying companies affiliated with ExxonMobil.
“It’s a story of how lobbyists want, and especially how Exxon’s lobbyists are now spending decades stopping asking in favor of six Democrats to position themselves to do the things like taking care of fossil fuel subsidies and fixing infrastructure packages, ”Rees told Kaufman. “Exxon hires companies and lobbyists because they have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democrats, both before and after they were taken over by Exxon.”
Tester – whose office has no comment on the story – led the group with $ 99,783, followed by Cinema ($ 70,800), Coons ($ 68,650), Manchin ($ 64,864), Hassan ($ 26,699) and Kelly ($ 1,500).
Kelly, a newcomer to the Senate, will not accept money from the corporation’s PAC – which his spokesman pointed out Tuesday, telling HuffPost that “he hasn’t met the individual in the original Exxon video, and hasn’t spoken yet. to anyone from the company it is the Senate. “
Hassan’s spokesperson said that “the video only says Sen. Hassan is ready for the election… it’s not for his support of their policies just because he is willing to vote,” while a Cinema and Coons spokesperson told Kaufman that the total analysis is “incorrect” and “not misleading.”
An ExxonMobil spokesperson said the company “complies with all federal and state regulations and lobbying laws,” and has “a responsibility on our customers, employees, community and shareholder to represent their interests in public policy discussions that affect our business. “
Echoing Woods’ statement earlier this month in response to the exposé, the spokesman added that McCoy’s recorded statement “did not represent the company’s position on a variety of issues, including comments about talking to elected officials.”
Janet Redman, campaign director at Greenpeace USA, said Tuesday in a statement responding to the analysis that the six Democratic senators “can be said to be unaffected by Lots of Oil, but those are useless words until they prove it. ”
“To restore public confidence, Exxon 11 – and especially the six Democrats that received money from Exxon – must commit to no longer meeting with fossil fuel companies as they make infrastructure and maintenance bills- again, “Redman continued.
“They also need to stop taking $ 15 billion out of the pockets of working Americans and give it to fossil fuel companies in the form of subsidies,” he added. “At Exxon 11 – here ‘s your chance to show that you stand with the people who voted for you, not Big Oil.”
Meanwhile, The New Republic began the report by highlighting that Brookings Institution executive vice president Darrell M. West criticized Unearthed’s revelations in a blog post. As Aronoff writes:
“West did not mention that Brookings received $ 100,000 from ExxonMobil last year, according to the oil company’s self-disclosure. He also did not mention that, in parts of the transcript that Unearthed was not published but was later provided them in The New Republic, Brookings is clearly mentioned by McCoy as one of two think tanks that his company is “actively involved in.”
Pointed to the past reviews to researcher Connor Gibson, Aronoff reported that Brookings earned $ 250,000 from ExxonMobil in 2019, $ 250,000 in 2018, $ 240,000 in 2017 and $ 380,000 in 2016.
A Brookings spokesman pointed to the institution’s research freedom guidelines and said “Exxon makes no direct contributions to support specific scholars or specific research projects, and its funding is not directed at carbon tax study or climate research. “
The other think tank McCoy mentioned was the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), which last year raised $ 175,000 in total support funding and $ 500,000 for the Securing Our Future Capital Campaign.
A CSIS communications official told Aronoff that no agreement has been reached with McCoy and “we have not yet had discussions with ExxonMobil about the carbon tax.” However, the official added that “we regularly invite Exxon, other oil and gas companies and other companies to most of our conferences and events. Exxon representatives attend these events. With that in mind, we talked to them. ”
After API member @ExxonMobilPlans to curb climate action have been unveiled, the web of organizations doing Exxon’s dirty work has become clearer: @BrookingsInst, @BPC_Bipartisan, @CFR_org, @AEI and @USChamber received hundreds of thousands from the company. https://t.co/WCi3V9HTXb
– Western Values Project (@Western_Values) July 13, 2021
Other recipients of money from ExxonMobil, according to the “Public Information and Policy Research” section of this 2020 Global Delivery Report, including the American Enterprise Institute ($ 100,000), Bipartisan Policy Center ($ 200,000), Council on Foreign Rel ’Corporate Program ($ 100,000) and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation ($ 250,000).
An ExxonMobil spokesman reiterated Woods ’claim that McCoy’s comments did not reflect the company’s positions, acknowledging that Woods was on CSIS’s board of trustees and said:“ AEI, BPC, Brookings and CSIS known for their collaborative approach and gathering diverse perspectives. to develop and research local and global policies on a variety of issues. We support the efforts. “
I love this piece. writing about this kind of influence before it always fails how, if there are no documents coming out or whatever, it is always the limit of what you can say; even when it is very clear what money is, the tanks of the mind just lie dormant https://t.co/suc3oHCIF6 pic.twitter.com/n5XZrIW4C2
– libby watson (@libbycwatson) July 13, 2021
Aronoff writes that “how you interpret these factors determines how you think about financial incentives and corporate giving. ExxonMobil, at the end of the day, is a company; Probably, it doesn’t break. hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in centrist thinking tanks for pleasure. “
“The oil giant is already going through an impressive official lobbying operation, and is generously giving to politicians,” he said. “But by funding institutions that help define ideas about what constitutes a rational climate debate, the company can have more influence on public discourse than the public knows.”
Originally published on Common Dreams.