Energy & Environment

DNC reverses ban on fossil fuel donations

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The Democratic National Committee (DNC) overwhelmingly passed a resolution on Friday evening saying it welcomes donations from fossil fuel industry workers and “employers’ political action committees.”

Critics of the newly passed resolution are calling it a reversal of the DNC’s recently adopted ban on accepting donations from fossil fuel companies’ political organizations.

DNC Chairman Tom Perez sponsored Friday’s resolution that allows the committee to accept contributions from “workers, including those in energy and related industries, who organize and donate to Democratic candidates individually or through their unions’ or employers’ political action committees.”

Perez, who served as Labor Secretary in the Obama administration, said the new measure was a commitment to organized labor. The resolution also says that the party wants “to support fossil fuel workers in an evolving energy economy.”


On a conference call Friday, Perez said that after the June resolution passed, members of the labor community voiced concerns about the ban, calling “an attack on the working people in these industries.” But he stressed that the DNC will still work to combat climate change.

“We have to draw the line that we are indeed a party of a big tent where all working people are welcome. We’re not a party that punishes workers simply based on how they make ends meet,” Perez said.

“We have been engaging with folks in the labor movement to address their concerns,” he continued. “At the same time, we remain committed to the Democratic Party platform, which states unequivocally our support for combating climate change.”

Christine Pelosi, a DNC member who co-authored the June resolution, offered an amendment to Perez’s measure that would strike the words “employers’ political action committees” to discourage donations from corporate PACs.

Pelosi said removing that language would reaffirm that Democratic Party’s “commitment to overturn Citizens United and banning corporate PAC money.”

But the motion to amend the language proposed by Pelosi failed, 4 to 28. The DNC’s executive committee voted to approve the original resolution, 30 to 2.

The June resolution, which was unanimously approved at the DNC’s meeting in Providence, Rhode Island, prohibited contributions from oil, gas and coal companies and associations.

“The Democratic National Committee act[s] to revive trust in our Party by … rejecting corporate PAC contributions from the fossil fuel industry that conflict with our DNC Platform,” the June resolution reads.

Prior to the executive committee’s vote on Friday, one co-author of the June resolution condemned the DNC’s new measure that she believed would essentially overturn the resolution.

“I am furious that the DNC would effectively undo a resolution passed just two months ago just as the movement to ban fossil fuel corporate PAC money is growing (and Democrats are winning),”  and a co-author of the June resolution, said.

“The easiest fix would be to strike the words ‘or employer’s (PACS).’ Then the Democratic Party can have a conversation about how best to respond to the climate emergency without abandoning workers in the fossil fuel industry.”

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