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Democrats open investigation into Trump's 'politics for money' deal with oil bosses

by SuperiorInvest

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Democrats in the US Senate have launched an investigation into allegations that Donald Trump sought a deal with major oil and gas companies that would see him break environmental regulations if he is re-elected president in exchange for $1 billion. in industry contributions to his campaign.

The investigation sheds light on the industry's relationship with the former president a day after he toured Texas in a fundraising campaign targeting wealthy fossil fuel executives.

It's part of an effort by Democrats to highlight Trump's ties to the industry ahead of the November election.

In letters sent Thursday to the heads of companies including ExxonMobil, Chevron and Occidental Petroleum, the senators asked the executives to turn over materials from an April meeting at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort detailing any promises he made to them. and the contributions made by them. to his campaign.

“Such an obvious policy-for-money tradeoff reeks of cronyism and corruption,” wrote Sheldon Whitehouse and Ron Wyden, chairmen of the Senate budget and finance committees, respectively.

“This request, along with troubling reports that fossil fuel interests and other businesses have been drafting language for use in business-friendly executive orders during a potential second Trump administration, demand immediate additional investigation,” they added.

The letter comes after Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin wrote to companies in a similar investigation earlier this month. Raskin and Whitehouse this week called on the Justice Department to investigate the industry's efforts to mislead the public about climate change.

The American Petroleum Institute, whose chief executive was among the recipients of the letters, criticized Thursday's move as “yet another election-year stunt.”

“API meets with candidates and policymakers to discuss the need for strong energy policies, and this meeting was no different,” said a spokesperson for the Washington-based industry lobby.

The senators also wrote to oil and gas producers Chesapeake Energy, Chevron, Continental Resources, EQT, ExxonMobil and Occidental, as well as LNG developers Cheniere and Venture Global. Chesapeake, Exxon and Cheniere declined to comment; the others did not respond to requests for comment.

With less than six months until the election, energy has become a crucial battleground between President Joe Biden and Trump. Despite record production and profits in recent years, Biden's environmental crackdown has irritated industry players, many of whom have bankrolled his opponent's campaign, despite questions about his volatility and support. to tariffs that risk undermining oil demand.

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“I think there are a lot of reluctant Trump voters, more so than in the last election,” said one Houston-based financier.

If re-elected, Trump has promised to free up the industry and allow it to “drill, baby, drill.” His fundraising campaign has targeted wealthy industry leaders who are sympathetic to his deregulatory message.

At a fundraising luncheon in Houston hosted by Continental President Harold Hamm and Occidental Chief Vicki Hollub on Wednesday, donors paid up to $100,000 per couple to attend a panel discussion with the former president and $25,000 per couple to take photographs.

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