Home>Feature>‘Big Oil’ Money Finds Its Way to Democrats

Sen. Cortez Masto stands with Climate Power protestors on the steps of the Capitol (Photo: @SenCortezMasto)

‘Big Oil’ Money Finds Its Way to Democrats

Cortez Masto has received $408,819 from fossil fuel companies and their lobbyists

By Megan Barth, June 17, 2022 11:55 am

On June 15, Cortez Masto released an ad attacking her opponent, Adam Laxalt,  for benefitting from “Big Oil” money. This is the precisely same narrative she used to attack her prior Republican opponent, Joe Heck, in 2018. While The Globe fully supports recycling, her latest effort is laden with political hypocrisy. 

NARRATOR: “Where you find big oil, you’ll find Adam Laxalt. He’s been on their side for years. Like when Laxalt got caught abusing his position as Attorney General to block a fraud investigation into big oil. What was in it for Laxalt? Well, groups backed by out of state oil billionaires spent $2.5 million to try and elect him governor. Big oil’s Adam Laxalt. He’s out for himself, not Nevada.” 

(Catherine Cortez Masto For Senate, “Big Oil’s Adam Laxalt,” 6/15/22)

In fact, when you find big oil, you’ll find Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto.

Cortez Masto has reaped financial benefits from big oil and its lobbyists. While Cortez Masto was leading the DSCC (Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee), the committee received millions of dollars from the fossil fuel industry.

In a 2019 review by MapLight and Sludge. healthcare and fossil fuel lobbyists raised almost $1.5 million for the DSCC in the first six months of the year.

The lobbyists’ clients include major health insurance and pharmaceutical companies whose profits are threatened by the prospect of a universal public health-care system, as well as oil and gas companies and utilities whose businesses depend upon Congress refusing to pass meaningful climate change mitigation measures.

While lobbyist fundraising only accounted for a fraction of the $28 million the DSCC raised in the first half of the year, it fits into a broader pattern of Democratic Party committees cozying up to corporate interests. In April, Sludge and MapLight reported that corporate lobbyists raising money for the House Democrats’ campaign arm had doubled their bundling from the previous election cycle.

“Those who contribute do so to support a Democratic Senate and any speculation or insinuation otherwise is inaccurate,” said Passalacqua, the DSCC’s communications director.

Within the article, numerous lobbyists and PAC’s have bundled money from Exxon Mobil, Chevron, and Citgo for the DSCC in order to maintain the Democratic Senate majority.

As a Senator, Cortez Masto has received $408,819, since 2015, from individuals and PAC’s in the energy and natural resources sector.

Additionally, Cortez Masto has received thousands of dollars from a Russian oil lobbyist. According to FEC filings and disclosures, Vincent Roberti donated the legal maximum of $5,800 to Cortez Masto in March of 2021. Roberti represents many global companies, such as Valero Energy. Roberti Global has disclosed $8.5 million in fees lobbying for the Nordstream 2 pipeline.

NRSC National Press Secretary T.W. Arrighi told The Globe: “Catherine Cortez Masto desperately wants to change the topic of conversation in Nevada, and in doing so, revealed herself to be a hypocrite. Not only does she have one of the most anti-American energy voting records in the Senate, but she has a history of taking millions of dollars from the same fossil fuel companies she’s now trying to demonize. In week one of the general election, Cortez Masto has confirmed to Nevadans that she’s both a failure and a hypocrite.”

As Cortez Masto takes to Twitter to call out Chevron and Exxon Mobil for their record profits, she is a direct beneficiary of their profits. While Cortez Masto fights for a clean energy economy, one that transitions from fossil fuels, she should come clean about her big oil donors and transition away from their donations, unless big oil money is only useful for Democrats to retain their majority.

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Megan Barth
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One thought on “‘Big Oil’ Money Finds Its Way to Democrats

  1. The reason oil is “Big” is they need lots of money and profits to:

    1 Attract investors
    2 Meet Government and environmental mandates
    3 Defend and pay lawsuits
    Both Biden and Sisolak want to end fossil fuel use by 2050. That will take lots of money for oil companies to change their entire business model.
    An oil worker makes $70k + and is often represented by OCA Union. What are the profits of Mastoes husband s security companies? What do his employees make? $25k?

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