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The last two weeks, I have taken a look at soda companies and airlines and how they have been involved in the political process. This week I turn my eyes to oil companies.

The companies I take a look at are BP America, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell Oil Company.

The areas of research include ALEC membership, HRC Corporate Equality Index scores, corporate donations, political lobbying, CEO donations, environmental issues, and more!

All the info is below!

Cross-posted at Corporitics

The Companies:

BP America: BP's brands include BP, Castrol, ARCO, and ampm.

Chevron: Chevron's brands include Chevron, Texaco, Town Pantry, Techron, and others.

ConocoPhillips: ConcoPhillip's brands include Conoco, Phillips 66, and Union 76.

ExxonMobil: ExxonMobil's brands include Exxon, Mobil, Esso, and Superior Oil.

Shell Oil Company: Shell is the American subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell. They operate under the Shell brand.


ALEC Membership

All 5 of the companies are members of ALEC. According to ALEC Exposed, Randall Smith of ExxonMobil serves on the Corporate Board.


Corporate Equality Index:

BP scored 85 on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index and is also a corporate sponsor.

Chevron scored 100 on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index.

Conoco scored 55 on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index.

Exxon scored -25 on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index. Their score is negative because they rescinded domestic partner benefits and removed discrimination based on sexual orientation from the corporate handbook when they merged with Mobil. Prior to the merger, Mobil employees received these benefits and protections.

Shell scored 85 on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index and is also a corporate sponsor.


Corporate Political Donations:

BP has donated $6,362,811 with 70% going to Republicans and 29% going to Democrats. This makes them the 138th largest all-time donor.

Chevron has donated $12,094,048 with 75% going to Republicans and 23% going to Democrats. This makes them the 82nd largest all-time donor.

Conoco has donated $2,848,200 with 84% going to Republicans and 16% going to Democrats.

Exxon has donated $12,912,309 with 86% going to Republicans and 13% going to Democrats. This makes them the 73rd largest all-time donor.

Shell has donated $1,089,900 with 73% going to Republicans and 27% going to Democrats.


Political Lobbying

BP has spent $77,127,984 on political lobbying.

Chevron has spent $93,529,825 on political lobbying.

Conoco has spent $84,705,717 on political lobbying.

Exxon has spent $184,812,472 on political lobbying.

Shell has spent $79,729,589 on political lobbying.


Political Convention Donations:

BP donated $100,000 to both the 2008 Democratic and Republican National Conventions

Chevron donated $200,000 to the 2008 Republican National Convention

Conoco donated $375,000 to the 2008 Democratic National Convention

Exxon and Shell did not donate to either.


CEO Donations:

BP CEO Robert Dudley has donated $4,576 to the BP PAC.

Chevron CEO John Watson has donated $154,600 with $144,600 going to Republicans and $10,000 going to Democrats. His largest donation was $85,800 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the only Democratic donation going to the Nevada State Democratic Party.

Conoco CEO James Mulva has donated $51,100 with $48,700 going to Republicans and $2,400 going to Democrats. His largest donation was $15,000 to the NRSC and the only Democratic donation was to Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE).

Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson has donated $184,770 with it all going to Republicans.

Shell CEO Marvin Odum has donated $1,000 to Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK)

The Environment (not an exhaustive list):

BP had leaking wells in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska in 2006-07 with about 5,000 barrels of oil leaked. They also leaked 530,000 pounds of chemicals into the air of Texas City in 2010, including benzene, nitrogen oxides, and carbon monoxide. In 2010, the Deepwater Horizon accident killed 11 people and leaked 4.9 million barrels of oil.

Chevron was accused by Ecuadorian residents of discharging 18 billion gallons of formation water into the rainforest. In a lawsuit, Chevron claimed that agreements with the Ecuadorian government exempted the company from any liabilities. In 2011, an Ecuadorian court fined Chevron $8.6 billion over pollution. Chevron has said they would not pay the fine as they have no international obligation to pay and no assets in Ecuador for the government to seize. Additionally, in 2011 Brazilian authorities said 416,400 liters of oil leaked in 2 weeks near the coast and are demanding $10.6 billion. Brazil has suspended Chevron’s activities in Brazil until it has established the cause of an oil spill of the coast of Rio de Janeiro.

Conoco was responsible for a series of oil spills in China in 2010 for which they were fined $31,000. The media described the spill as six times the size of Singapore. Utah is suing Conoco for $25 million to clean up leaking underground tanks.

Exxon was responsible for the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill, which released 11 million gallons. In 2011 they had an oil spill in Montana and in 2012 in Louisiana. They have been accused of spending more than $8 million to challenge global warming and, as of 2009, was still funding some of these groups.

Shell has been fined by the Environmental Protection Agency, first in Connecticut in 1998 and then in Washington state in 2010. They were also sued in 2008 for violating the Clean Air Act in Texas. The parent company, Royal Dutch Shell, has frequent oil spills in Nigeria and had a large freshwater spill in Argentina.

Random Facts:

BP admitted it lobbied the British government to conclude a prisoner-transfer agreement to secure the release of the Lockerbie bomber amid fears that delays would damage its commercial interests and disrupt its offshore drilling operations in the region.

Chevron was found to have evaded $3.25 billion in taxes from 1970 – 2000 through a pricing scheme involving a project in Indonesia.

Conoco challenged a July 2012 tax assessment by East Timor that would result in hundreds of millions of dollars being owed to the country. East Timor was not able to accurately enforce its tax code until recently and has been performing an audit of petroleum production for the past 12-18 months, which has found deficiencies in many of the assessments.

Exxon renamed the tanker subsidiary after the Valdez spill, and, even though it is wholly Exxon-controlled, it has its own corporate charter and board of directors. The tanker, now renamed SeaRiver Mediterranean, is legally owned by a small, stand-alone company, which would have minimal ability to pay out any claims in case of another accident.

Shell, acting under East Resources, donated more than $300,000 to Governor Tom Corbett (R-PA) in 2010. Some believe these donations were a payoff in exchange for no severance tax and the repeal of environmental policies created to protect the environment from natural gas drilling. In June, he also announced $1.7 billion in tax credits for a new natural gas refinery.

My Thoughts:

As expected, none of the companies are particularly friendly towards Democrats. The only really standout would be that ConocoPhillips donated to the 2008 Democratic Convention.

I was a bit surprised to see the drastic differences in HRC scores, with a range from 100 to -25!.

 Of the major companies, there isn't one that (to me) stands out as one where you should seek out to fill up your tank.


I fill up most often at

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thank You (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MGross, SolarMom

    for taking the time to read this long post. I hope you found it informative and a reminder of the forces we are up against. We can't let our guard down because they will keep pouring money in domestically and internationally.

    Check out Corporitics to learn about the confluence of corporations and politics

    by DirkPitt on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 12:14:19 AM PDT

    •  Please update the sections on campaign (0+ / 0-)

      contributions and lobbying to include over what time period the money is counted.  It makes a huge difference if these sums were paid over 1 month, 1 year, 4 years or 10 years.  

      Without the time periods the dollar numbers have little meaning.

      The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

      by nextstep on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 11:27:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It goes back to 1989 (0+ / 0-)

        when they started keeping track. The source is the Center for Responsive Politics and you can track it by year at the link in each section. For lobbying, they also break it down by each subsidiary of the main company per year.

        Check out Corporitics to learn about the confluence of corporations and politics

        by DirkPitt on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 11:30:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Two slight updates (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The 2009 AGW donations by Exxon are dated at this point, and I believe the last time they donated money to those groups.  (Maybe there's something more recent?)

    The Chevron Brazil penalty has now been reduced to only $25 million.

    •  As to the global warming issues, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I am not positive if any more donations have been made, but I found a couple articles more recent that 9 out of 10 climate-denying scientists have financial links to ExxonMobil (2011), and the CEO thinks climate change is "manageable" (2012).

      They definitely aren't as extreme as they were a couple years ago, but they still are trying to downplay any significance.

      Check out Corporitics to learn about the confluence of corporations and politics

      by DirkPitt on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 11:47:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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