Oil companies and industry group could cut political donations after riots (API president)

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Some energy companies have decided to stop making political donations after rioters attacked the United States Capitol last week, the head of a major trade group in the industry said on Wednesday.

Mike Sommers, president of the American Petroleum Institute, said the riots, which resulted in the deaths of five people, will also be factored into future decisions of the American Petroleum Institute regarding donations. He did not name the companies that suspended their political contributions.

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

The five people who died included a policeman defending the United States Capitol, as supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the seat of Congress in an attempt to disrupt official recognition of President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory in November. On Wednesday, the United States House of Representatives was due to impeach Trump for his role in inciting the march on Capitol Hill.

“Our first rule is to support the candidates and the members of Congress and the senators who support the oil and gas industry,” Sommers said during a press call, where he discussed the prospects of the API for 2021. “But just like previous iterations of our past giving, other factors also come into effect and that will be one of the factors we consider.”

Many companies have suspended donations to politicians who refused to certify Biden’s victory, including Walmart Inc, the world’s largest retailer and entertainment company Walt Disney Co.

“I specifically asked my team to review the events of the past week and ensure they are factored into our decisions going forward,” Chevron Managing Director Mike Wirth said Tuesday. , during the Reuters Next conference.

The political action committee of US employees of major oil company BP is also suspending political contributions for six months and will reassess its criteria for support.

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 cuts in spending would fall primarily on Tory candidates, who raised more than $ 102 million from those donations, according to the research group.

Reporting by Stephanie Kelly and Laura Sanicola, editing by Franklin Paul and David Gregorio