The confirmation hearings for the U.S. secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson has begun Wednesday, and one thing is certain: The wheels have already been thoroughly greased by campaign donations from the oil and gas industry.
Though Tillerson might not have held office before, he’s hardly a Washington outsider.His company, Exxon Mobil, and the broader oil industry over the past six years (the length of a Senate term) have poured $4.6 million in campaign contributions to members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — some of the very people conducting the hearings.
Of that sum, the vast majority ($4,063,612) went to the 11 Republicans on the committee, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
The oil and gas industry has nearly doubled the political dollars it has piped into lobby firms and campaign coffers over the past decade. Tillerson himself presided over Exxon’s lobbying operation, which in 2016 alone spent $8.8 million on lobbying, more any other oil and gas company.
While many big industries like financial services have made it their practice to donate generously to both political parties, oil and gas has held steady by disproportionately giving to Republicans. This past election, the industry donated $50.9 million to Republicans and only $6 million to Democrats.