HomeInvestigationOil, gas and coal interests filling Donald Trump’s ‘swamp’ with cash

Oil, gas and coal interests filling Donald Trump’s ‘swamp’ with cash

They include coal executives Christopher Cline, founder of coal company Foresight Reserves LLC, and J Clifford Forrest, president of Rosebud Mining Company — each gave $1 million.

Also contributing $1 million each: Hushang Ansary, a longtime oil executive and businessman, and his wife, Shahla Ansary.

Inaugural committee donors who gave at least $1 million were invited to a long list of exclusive events over the inauguration weekend, including dinners with the vice president and president and a luncheon with “select Cabinet appointees” and “select House and Senate leadership” — the same people making policy decisions that govern their businesses.

Trump is “blurring the lines between commercial oil interests and the state,” said Cassady Craighill, a spokeswoman for Greenpeace USA, an environmental organization.

Craighill said Trump’s decision to appoint former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state is an example of big oil companies’ influence over the federal government.

Spokespeople for both Chevron and ExxonMobil described their inauguration contributions as a good will effort to work with the new presidential administration and as something they do routinely.

Chevron, for example, donated $1 million to Obama’s second inauguration — more than the company gave to Trump.

And ExxonMobil spokesman Alan Jeffers said the $3.44 million the company spent on lobbying efforts during the first three months of 2017 is “reflective of the large number of issues impacting ExxonMobil’s business.”

ExxonMobil isn’t alone in its broad lobbying efforts. Oil and gas interests lobbied on topics ranging from energy to transportation and tax reform.

For example, BP contributed $500,000 to Trump’s inauguration, and it also spent $1.7 million during the first three months of the year lobbying in part on “issues related to arctic oil and gas development.”

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