House Dems Launch Investigation Into Trump’s Meeting With Oil Executives

His alleged $1 billion ask raises “significant potential ethical, campaign finance, and legal issues.”

During a July 2020 visit to a Double Eagle Energy rig in Midland, Texas, then president Donald Trump signed four new oil exploration permits.Tony Gutierrez/AP

This story was originally published by the Guardian and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

House Democrats have launched an investigation into a meeting between oil company executives and Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago home and club last month, following reports that the former president offered to dismantle Biden’s environmental rules and requested $1 billion in contributions to his presidential campaign.

Democrats on the House oversight committee late on Monday evening sent letters to nine oil executives requesting information on their companies’ participation in the meeting.

“Media reports raise significant potential ethical, campaign finance, and legal issues that would flow from the effective sale of American energy and regulatory policy to commercial interests in return for large campaign contributions,” the Maryland congressman Jamie Raskin, the top Democrat on the committee, wrote in the letters.

The investigation comes after the Washington Post broke the news of the dinner meeting, where Trump spoke in front of more than 20 fossil fuel executives from companies including Chevron, Exxon, and Occidental Petroleum.

It was reported that Trump said steering $1 billion into his campaign would be a “deal” for the companies because of the costs they would avoid under him. The former president offered in a second term to immediately end the Biden administration’s freeze on permits for new liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, while auctioning off more oil drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico and reversing drilling restrictions in the Alaskan Arctic, among other promises.

Oversight Democrats addressed letters to the CEOs of oil giants Chevron, and Exxon, liquefied natural gas company Cheniere Energy, and fossil fuel firms Chesapeake Energy, Continental Resources, EQT Corporation, Occidental Petroleum, and Venture Global. They also sent an inquiry to the head of the American Petroleum Institute (API), the fossil fuel industry’s top lobbying arm in the US.

Asked about the investigation, API spokesperson Andrea Woods said the organization “meets with policymakers and candidates from across the political spectrum on topics important to our industry.”

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