Oil companies, industry group could cut political donations post-riot: API President




  • In US
  • 2021-01-13 18:20:51Z
  • By Reuters

By Stephanie Kelly and Laura Sanicola

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Some energy companies have decided to stop making political donations after rioters attacked the U.S. Capitol last week, the head of a top industry trade group said on Wednesday.

Mike Sommers, president of the American Petroleum Institute, said the riots, which resulted in the deaths of five people, will factor into the American Petroleum Institute's future decisions on donations as well. He did not name which companies have suspended political contributions.

U.S. oil giant Chevron said Tuesday it was reviewing donations.

The five who died included a police officer defending the U.S. Capitol, as supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the seat of Congress in an attempt to disrupt the formal recognition of President-elect Joe Biden's electoral victory in November. The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday was set to impeach Trump for his role in urging the march on the Capitol.

"Our first rule is to support candidates and members of congress and senators that support the oil and gas industry," Sommers said in a press call, where he discussed API's outlook for 2021. "But just like previous iterations of our past giving, other factors come into effect as well and this will be among those factors that we consider."

Numerous companies have suspended donations to politicians who refused to certify Biden's win, including Walmart Inc, the world's biggest retailer and entertainment company Walt Disney Co.

"I specifically asked my team to take a look at the events of last week and make sure those are brought into account as we make our decisions going forward," Chevron Chief Executive Mike Wirth said Tuesday at the Reuters Next conference.

The U.S. employee political action committee at oil major BP is also suspending political contributions for six months and will re-evaluate its support criteria.

The oil and gas industry contributed more than $109 million in political donations for the 2020 election cycle, according to the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks political spending. Any reduction in outlays would predominately fall on conservative candidates, which garnered more than $102 million of those donations, according to the research group.

(Reporting by Stephanie Kelly and Laura Sanicola, Editing by Franklin Paul and David Gregorio)

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