Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Hillary Clinton's Complicated Ties to Big Oil

Energy
Hillary Clinton's Complicated Ties to Big Oil

She's taken a strong stance on campaign donations from private prisons, but Hillary Clinton is yet to walk a clear line on accepting money from fossil fuel corporations and lobbyists.

We know that our democracy is crowded with too much money and too little people power. The good news is there’s something we can do about it.

Hillary Clinton is yet to walk a clear line on accepting money from fossil fuel corporations and lobbyists. Photo credit: brwn_yd_grl / Flickr

This week, Greenpeace and more than 20 partners called on all 2016 presidential candidates to commit to a people-powered democracy. That means their potential administrations would prioritize reforms to get money out of politics and protect voting rights. To prove they mean business, we’re asking all candidates to start off their pledge with a commitment to refuse all campaign donations from fossil fuel companies.

Already, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has signed the pledge and vowed to reject dirty energy money. Now our sights are set on candidates Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley.

Why Hillary?

To be sure, candidates from both parties have a role in protecting our democracy. The campaign committee for Republican candidate Ted Cruz, for example, has also taken money from the fossil fuel industry, specifically the Murray Energy PAC, part of the nation’s largest underground coal mining company.

Secretary Clinton has already said that she believes Exxon should be prosecuted for misleading the public on what it knew about climate change going back to the 1970s. New evidence has surfaced showing that other fossil fuel companies, including Shell and Chevron, also knew.

But when asked last month whether her campaign would stop taking money from the fossil fuel industry, Clinton wavered, saying that she wasn’t aware if her campaign had taken money, but would look into it.

Well, we looked into it.

While it’s true that Clinton’s campaign committee has not taken any money from Exxon or Exxon’s political action committee, it has taken money from fossil fuel lobbyists. Analyzing just Exxon, seven of the company’s lobbyists gave the maximum allowable amount to Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Clinton’s campaign bundlers also have strong ties to the fossil fuel industry. Bundlers act as lobbyists for campaigns, recruiting other people they know to make individual donations. Outside analysis showed that nearly all of the Clinton campaign’s registered bundlers have worked for the fossil fuel industry.

Does money from fossil fuel lobbyists count as donations from the industry? According to Secretary Clinton they do. As part of her stance on criminal justice reform, Clinton announced that her campaign “does not accept contributions from federally registered lobbyists or PACs for private prison companies and will donate any such direct contributions to charity.”

Secretary Clinton clearly understands what it means to truly separate oneself from industry. It only makes sense that she go all the way on dirty energy. That means no money from fossil fuel companies, fossil fuel PACs, fossil fuel executives or board members or lobbyists.

Why It Matters

Secretary Clinton joked that she’s “not one of [the fossil fuel industry’s] favorites” and that “they certainly haven’t made much of an impression on [her].” But whether or not the Clinton campaign wants to admit it, money buys access. And when lobbyists from companies like Exxon buy access, they inevitably buy influence too.

As a presidential candidate, Secretary Clinton was notoriously slow in announcing her stance against the Keystone pipeline. And a pro-Clinton super PAC is already promoting Clinton’s support for natural gas. Which company is the nation’s largest natural gas producer? You guessed it: Exxon.

It’s a broken system, but we can start fixing it right now.

Secretary Clinton can show us she takes the future of our democracy seriously by refusing fossil fuel money, but that’s only the beginning.

As our potential president, Secretary Clinton should support common-sense measures like public funding for campaigns and overturning the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, which allows corporations to make unlimited political donations through Super PACs. Secretary Clinton should also affirm her support for protecting voting rights, which have faced numerous attacks in recent years.

By shifting our politics from money to people, we can create a political system that actually allows progress on the issues we care about—from racial inequality, to fighting climate change, to gun control. It’s means new policies that protect—not impede—everyone’s right to vote. And it means creating the space for the solutions we need today and for future generations.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE 

Bill McKibben: How to Stop the Fossil Fuel Industry From Wrecking Our World

Sparks Fly Between Clinton and Sanders During Dem Debate

Michael Moore: 10 People in Flint Have Now Been Killed by These Premeditated Actions of the Governor of Michigan

3 ‘Knitting Nannas’ Arrested Protesting 850 Proposed Gas Wells

The wildfires that roared through Eastern Washington in September had a devastating impact on an extremely endangered species of rabbit.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A protestor in NYC holds up a sign that reads, "November Is Coming" on June 14, 2020 in reference to voting in the 2020 presidential election. Ira L. Black / Corbis / Getty Images

By Mark Hertsgaard

What follows are not candidate endorsements. Rather, this nonpartisan guide aims to inform voters' choices, help journalists decide what races to follow, and explore what the 2020 elections could portend for climate action in the United States in 2021 and beyond.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Activists fight a peat fire in Siberia in September. ALEXANDER NEMENOV / AFP via Getty Images

The wildfires that ignited in the Arctic this year started earlier and emitted more carbon dioxide than ever before.

Read More Show Less
A metapopulation project in South Africa has almost doubled the population of cheetahs in less than nine years. Ken Blum / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

By Tony Carnie

South Africa is home to around 1,300 of the world's roughly 7,100 remaining cheetahs. It's also the only country in the world with significant cheetah population growth, thanks largely to a nongovernmental conservation project that depends on careful and intensive human management of small, fenced-in cheetah populations. Because most of the reserves are privately funded and properly fenced, the animals benefit from higher levels of security than in the increasingly thinly funded state reserves.

Read More Show Less
A new super enzyme feeds on the type of plastic that water and soda bottles are made of, polyethylene terephthalate (PET). zoff-photo / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Scientists are on the brink of scaling up an enzyme that devours plastic. In the latest breakthrough, the enzyme degraded plastic bottles six times faster than previous research achieved, as The Guardian reported.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch