Senate Democrats open inquiry into Trump's $1 billion ask from oil companies

Top Democratic Senators accused oil executives of attempting to "trade campaign cash for policy changes"

Published May 23, 2024 8:01PM (EDT)

Donald Trump on a Twenty Dollar Bill (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
Donald Trump on a Twenty Dollar Bill (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

Democratic lawmakers in the Senate have announced plans to investigate Donald Trump’s solicitation of a $1 billion dollar donation, coming as the former president allegedly promised donors massive savings from deregulation and tax breaks if he returned to office.

The inquiry into a meeting between Trump and the executives of numerous oil and gas firms will hinge on whether he attempted to tie the donations to favors. Reports suggest that the oil and gas industry has already prepared for a second Trump term, drafting a slew of new executive orders for him to sign on day one.

Per the New York Times, Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., wrote to top executives of eight oil companies, asking for details of the April meeting and inquiring whether a quid pro quo took place. They accused the group of recipients of “conferring [with Trump] on how to trade campaign cash for policy changes.”

The move, which underscores the deep financial troubles of the Trump campaign and its reliance on deep-pocketed billionaires, comes in line with the Trump campaign’s suggestions that it would end Biden-era green energy policies and restart significant oil drilling efforts.

 “This solicitation, coupled with troubling reports that fossil fuel interests and other companies have been drafting language for use in executive orders favorable to their businesses during a possible second Trump Administration, demand immediate additional inquiry,” Whitehouse and Wyden wrote, per Politico.

Though the solicitation itself may or may not be illegal, depending on the demands made at the meeting, it poses serious ethical concerns, critics say. 

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