Exxon Mobil Corp. lobbyist Keith McCoy listed six Democrats the oil giant saw as key allies to push its legislative agenda in the Senate in a secretly recorded sting video Greenpeace UK published late last month.
New analysis of campaign disclosures found the six Democratic senators ― Mark Kelly (Ariz.), Maggie Hassan (N.H.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Chris Coons (Del.), Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) and Jon Tester (Mont.) ― received a combined total of nearly $333,000 from lobbyists, political action committees and lobbying firms affiliated with Exxon over the past decade.
The analysis of campaign disclosures, which the advocacy group Oil Change U.S. conducted and HuffPost reviewed, found Tester received the most in donations from Exxon Mobil ― $99,783 from seven lobbyists, the company’s PAC and four lobbying firms working for the firm.
The report includes some donations lobbyists at K Street behemoths such as Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck gave before taking on Exxon Mobil as a client. Spokespeople for Coons and Sinema said including those contributions in the total was “misleading” and “inaccurate.”
But Collin Rees, the senior campaigner at Oil Change U.S. who conducted the analysis, said the donations paint a fuller picture of Exxon Mobil’s influence taking stock of the relationships the company’s money helped cultivate as well as those that may have prompted the oil giant to hire certain lobbyists in the first place.
“This is a story about how lobbyists curry favor, and specifically about how Exxon’s current lobbyists have spent decades currying the favor of these six Democrats to position themselves to do things like safeguard fossil fuel subsidies and pare down infrastructure packages,” Rees said. “Exxon has hired these firms and lobbyists because they’ve contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to these Democrats, both before and after they were hired by Exxon.”
Counting donations from lobbyists like Arshi Siddiqui, some of which came before Exxon Mobil hired her, makes Sinema the No. 2 recipient on the list, with $70,800 in contributions from eight Exxon Mobil lobbyists, the company PAC and three lobbying firms.
“Inclusion of those contributions would be incredibly misleading,” John LaBombard, a spokesman for Sinema, said of money that came from lobbyists who also work for other clients. “Kyrsten’s work in the Senate is influenced by only one thing: what is best for Arizona.”
Coons came in third with $68,650 from seven lobbyists, the PAC and four lobbying firms.
“One of the other ones that aren’t talked about is Senator Coons, who’s from Delaware, who has a very close relationship with Senator Biden,” McCoy said in the now-viral video, in which he believed he was talking to corporate headhunters in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. “So we’ve been working with his office. As a matter of fact, our CEO is talking to him next Tuesday.”
It’s unclear whether a meeting with Exxon Mobil chief Darren Woods took place.