House Democrats investigate whether Trump promised oil executives he would undo Biden’s climate policies

Committee probes whether Trump promised to scrap climate policies if Big Oil executives fund his return to power

Stuti Mishra
Thursday 16 May 2024 11:11
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Democrats in the US House of Representatives are investigating Donald Trump after he reportedly promised oil company executives that he will undo certain climate policies if they fund his return to the White House.

Democratic members of the House Oversight Committee sent letters to nine oil executives on Monday asking for information about their meeting with Mr Trump in Florida.

The letter asks the executives to reveal whether Mr Trump proposed a “quid pro quo” arrangement to them.

“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,” Jamie Raskin, the top Democrat on the committee, wrote in the letter.

Mr Trump allegedly solicited a $1bn donation from oil executives during a meeting at his Mar-a-Lago resort last month in exchange for reversing many of president Joe Biden’s climate policies if elected, The Washington Post reported.

Politico reported that the same oil companies are drafting executive orders for the former president to sign if he returns to the White House. One order purportedly seeks to reverse Mr Biden’s pause on natural gas export permits. The president issued the pause in January as his government evaluated the industry’s impact on the climate crisis.

“This was a very focused small group directed at a particular industry, there was an amount put out there of $1bn, which he described as a deal, which all raises questions about the transactional nature of the meeting,” Virginia Canter, chief ethics counsel at the nonprofit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, told The Guardian.

Karoline Leavitt, a spokesperson for Mr Trump’s 2024 campaign, told The Independent that the Republican candidate opposes Mr Biden’s environmental policies.

“Joe Biden is controlled by environmental extremists who are trying to implement the most radical energy agenda in history and force Americans to purchase electric vehicles they can’t afford,” Ms Leavitt said in a statement.

“President Trump is supported by people who share his vision of American energy dominance to protect our national security and bring down the cost of living for all Americans.”

Mr Trump has repeatedly denied the reality of the climate crisis and the legitimacy of climate science.

The former president has called the climate crisis “nonexistent” and a “make-believe problem” even though experts across the globe agree that the planet is warming due to human activities.

The reports that Mr Trump solicitated campaign funding from oil executives came as he faced a financial crunch.

In March, a New York court ordered Mr Trump to pay a bond of more than $464m after losing a civil fraud trial. His lawyers said Mr Trump faced the “practical impossibility” of coming up with the money before the deadline.

Mr Trump eventually paid $175m after an appeals court granted him a 10-day extension and reduced the bond amount by more than half. He secured the bond through the Knight Specialty Insurance Company.

However, New York attorney general Letitia James has since called the bond into question, claiming that the insurance company is not authorised to do business in the state. Mr Trump’s legal team called her concerns a waste of time during a court hearing on the matter in late April.

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