By Chloe Farand • Friday, January 5, 2018 – 05:01
Several top Republican lawmakers behind the new US tax bill received donations from oil giant BP’s employee political action committee (PAC), data shows. The bill gives big corporations in America a hefty tax break and opens up oil drilling in the Arctic.
Official documents from the Federal Election Committee and data from The Center for Responsive Politics, a non-profit and nonpartisan research group which tracks the effects of lobbying on elections and is also known as Open Secrets, show the BP employee PAC financed some of the key lawmakers sponsoring the bill adopted at the beginning of December.
PAC donations are part of a wider lobbying strategy and in this instance BP’s staff are supporting lawmakers with a questionable record on climate change.
House speaker Paul Ryan, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, each received about $20,000 from the BP PAC over the last couple of years, the data shows.
Both Ryan and McConnell have previously denied the science behind man-made climate change and the pair fully backed Donald Trump’s decision to pull out the US of the Paris Agreement.
The BP employee PAC, officially called BP Corporation North America Inc, allows money to be raised by the company’s staff and their families and spent to help elect and defeat candidates in elections.
BP made headlines this week by welcoming the new tax bill which the company said would boost its profit in the long run.
In a statement, the oil company said it expected “its future US after-tax earnings to be positively impacted by the recently-enacted changes to US corporate taxes”.
A spokesman for BP told DeSmog UK the company does not directly contribute funds to the BP employee PAC and described it as “a non-partisan committee that encourages voluntary employee participation in the political process”.
Hundreds of US and international companies are expected to benefit from the tax changes including other UK-headquartered companies involved in fossil fuel extraction and financing such projects, such as Royal Dutch Shell and Barclays, which have both announced they were likely to see tax reduction over time after an initial charge.