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The House Democrats Dragging Oil Giants Into A Show Trial Benefitted From Industry Profits

Ro Khanna

House Democrats dragging oil giants before lawmakers in an upcoming show trial have benefitted from industry profits, public financial records show.


House Democrats dragging oil giants before lawmakers Thursday in an upcoming show trial have benefitted from industry profits, public financial records show.

In September, Reps. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., who chairs the Oversight Committee, and Ro Khanna, D-Calif., who leads the Subcommittee on Environment, demanded executives from Shell, ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the American Petroleum Institute (API) testify about their alleged roles in climate change.

“We are deeply concerned that the fossil fuel industry has reaped massive profits for decades while contributing to climate change that is devastating American communities, costing taxpayers billions of dollars, and ravaging the natural world,” Maloney and Khanna wrote in a joint statement. “We are also concerned that to protect those profits, the industry has reportedly led a coordinated effort to spread disinformation to mislead the public and prevent crucial action to address climate change.”

Both of these lawmakers have raked in thousands from the very profits they’ve condemned as blood money.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Maloney has enjoyed more than $100,000 in campaign contributions from the energy industry. Despite signing the no fossil fuels money pledge last cycle, OpenSecrets shows the New York congresswoman has so far claimed more than $12,000 in donations from oil and gas for next year’s midterms.

As recently as 2008, Maloney was also the 9th top personal investor in oil among House lawmakers, according to the non-partisan Sunlight Foundation.

Khanna was ranked the 24th wealthiest member of the lower chamber in 2017, with oil and gas among his top investments, as reported by OpenSecrets, at more than $1.6 million in industry assets. His campaign has also seen more than $11,000 in contributions for the current election cycle.

While claiming his family had divested “98 percent” of their holdings in fossil fuel companies, a Newsweek report earlier this month showed a purchase of $30,000 to $100,000 in stock from ExxonMobil and Chevron. Both companies will have representatives testifying before Khanna on Thursday.

The family also purchased “$3,003 to $45,000 worth of shares in the natural gas companies Dominion Energy, Duke, and ConocoPhillips,” according to Newsweek, based on disclosure records from the House clerk.

“The money is my wife’s property and was completely prior to marriage,” Khanna told the magazine. “There were apparently a few de minims transactions that her financial firm engaged in in the last reporting period.”

Khanna said the holdings were a product of a transaction made by a third-party money manager and would no longer be present in the next public disclosure.

The hearing on “Big Oil” and the industry’s role in climate change comes at a turbulent time for producers sabotaged by a hostile Biden administration shopping overseas for energy to the benefit of foreign workers while shutting down American oil and jobs.

A months-long suspension of federal leases complemented by a cascade of taxes and regulation while barring domestic production with outright bans and pressure on Wall Street to withhold capital investment has driven up gas prices to seven-year highs and put an energy crisis on the horizon this winter.

Larry Behrens, the communications director for the energy non-profit Power the Future, railed the upcoming hearing as a distraction from the Democrat engineered crisis hitting American pocket books.

“They can’t hide the fact that prices at the pump are skyrocketing and keeping homes warm this winter is going to cost more than it has in years,” Behrens told The Federalist. “Now, these Democrat leaders want to double-down on their failure despite the fact some of them have close ties to oil investments.”

Later this week, President Joe Biden will leave for a global climate summit in Glasgow to seek a worldwide agreement that would rapidly phase out reliable fossil fuels for unreliable energy sources.