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Chevron is funding racial injustice – report

While publicly portraying itself as an ally to black communities, big oil firm Chevron has been found to give over four times more campaign funding to US politicians who fail to uphold racial justice and civil rights legislation.

Chevron is notorious for its massive political spending to push pro-industry interests. But the company’s political spending has now also been found to prop up politicians who use their positions of power to further entrench racial injustice.

US civil rights organisation, the NAACP, produces an annual Civil Rights Legislative Report Card, which gives grades to politicians from A to F based on their civil rights voting record.

According to a Global Witness analysis of NAACP’s 2019 report card for 116th Congress, Chevron gave over four times more in political funding to candidates with F or failing grades – which means they oppose and dismantle policies that would further racial justice and equality –  than to politicians with “passing” grades.

Public campaign finance records for the current election cycle spanning 2019 and 2020 show Chevron has given at least $529,500 through its political action committee to US Congressmembers with failing civil rights grades, as scored by the NAACP. This compares to $124,000 given to politicians with passing grades.

Chevron, for instance, has contributed to Senator Tom Cotton, who recently wrote a New York Times op-ed calling to “Send In the Troops” in response to ongoing protests against police brutality and racism. His argument to deploy the military on protestors caused many to point out how Cotton’s call to arms would put black residents at risk.

Senators Martha McSally, Joni Ernst, Steve Daines, Cory Gardner and Thom Tillis have all received maximum contributions from Chevron and failing grades from the NAACP. They all make up part of a joint fundraising committee that includes a former conservative talk radio host with a well-documented history of racist and misogynistic comments.

Public face

Chevron is one of only a few fossil fuel companies to release statements in the days that followed the brutal and highly visible police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. And it wasn’t the first statement on racial justice to come from Chevron, which calls itself a “human energy company”.

The company has boasted commitments to diversity and inclusion, highlighted partnerships with historically black colleges and universities, and cited efforts internally to improve diversity in their workforce, including among leadership.

 

 

In a statement to Global Witness, Chevron reiterated its support for diversity and inclusion in the workplace and said: “We support candidates based on a wide number of factors including their views towards the need for affordable, reliable and ever cleaner energy. We engage with and support many elected officials who take positions on a wide range of issues. We are not always aligned with all of their views but it is important for us to be part of the dialogue and share our perspectives, including those on diversity and inclusion, with candidates.”

Take action

If you care about racial justice and civil rights, examine your politicians’ voting records. If they do not align with your values, withdraw your support and help spread the message. We have the power to put politicians in power, so use your vote wisely.

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