Climate change is a huge priority for a lot of Democratic candidates. In fact, the left tends to be unhappy with their colleagues on the Republican side, who often disagree with the notion that human activity contributes to climate change. Beto O’Rourke is one such politician who has been fairly vocal about the importance of tackling climate change head-on.
Despite the frustration surrounding certain Republican politicians dismissing climate change as a priority, at least it’s reasonable that said politicians take campaign contributions from big oil and gas companies. Arguably much worse are the Democrats who put on the guise that they care deeply about the issue of climate change or promise to not, yet still, take money from big oil and gas.
As the 2020 election is coming up, many prominent Democrats have announced their candidacy. Trust is always a huge part of our democracy; after all, Trump is hounded all the time for not being a president of his words.
So today, we dive into the actions of former Congressman, Beto O’Rourke, who has a serious problem keeping his word on raising funds from oil and gas.
Now, a lot of people like Beto O’Rourke. His run against Ted Cruz was an election to follow. Despite losing at the end, O’Rourke proved to be a force to be reckoned with. When he ran for president, the support was real. In fact, O’Rourke raised some $6.1 million within 24 hours of announcing his run.
All that said, O’Rourke has a serious problem with accepting money from oil and gas. At an event at the College of William and Mary, he said: “Not only do we not take PAC money, we don’t take any lobbyist money either…we won’t take any lobbyist money from oil and gas corporations.”
“Not only do we not take PAC money, we don’t take any lobbyist money either…we won’t take any lobbyist money from oil and gas corporations.”Beto O’Rourke at an event at the College of William and Mary
But upon closer examination of campaign finance, O’Rourke has taken some $546,344 from individuals in oil and gas; that makes him the politician that raised the second most amount of money from oil and gas, after Ted Cruz. Now, you might think that O’Rourke might still be telling the truth about not taking lobbyist money (or from CEOs).
According to the Federal Election Commission, O’Rourke took money from the CEO of Sanchez Energy.
And according to Sludge, the O’Rourke campaign received $22,400 from eight executives associated with the Sanchez family businesses. Also, he’s taken $250 from a Chevron lobbyist. Now, that’s not a lot of money by any means, and O’Rourke plans to return the money, but it still shows the importance of keeping politicians accountable for their words.
Other 2020 Democratic candidates have taken from oil and gas too, including Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders. Kamala Harris, in particular, is a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal resolution.
Although it’s the duty of public servants to be honest to their constituents, the black box of campaign finance will make media and constituent involvement crucial. If a politician says something, he or she should act accordingly. And if not, they should be exposed. Constituents have every right to know who they’re truly voting for.
Steven is an Editor for the Politics section at The Rising and a Computer Science student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.