Fossil fuel corporations and a Canadian trade agency that has promoted the construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline have donated millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation, which is jointly run by Hillary, Bill, and Chelsea.
Climate campaigners say that the payments raise concerns about industry influence on Hillary Clinton, a likely 2016 presidential candidate who has so far remained mum on her position on the tar sands pipeline, despite a call from 30 environmental organizations—issued over a year ago—urging her to take a stand against it.
The gifts to the foundation—whose stated mission is to "improve global health and wellness, increase opportunity for women and girls, reduce childhood obesity, create economic opportunity and growth, and help communities address the effects of climate change"—were first reported by The Wall Street Journal earlier this week.
According to a voluntary disclosure from the Foundation, in 2014 the not-for-profit received between $250,000 and $500,000 from Canada's Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Development department, which has pressed for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.
The agency's own website states that one of its priorities is to "Deepen commercial relations with the United States through support for innovation and foreign investment and promote Canada as a stable and secure source of energy and energy technology, such as the Keystone XL initiative."
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This Canadian agency is not the only donor aligned with big oil.
Numerous fossil fuel giants sent direct payments to the foundation in 2014, including Exxon Mobil Corp., which donated up to $5 million, Anadarko Petroleum Corp., BP, ConocoPhillips Co., Chesapeake Energy Corp., Citgo Petroleum Corp. and Occidental Petroleum Corp, the Hill reported.
Big Oil has played a key role in lobbying in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline, including in a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama signed by the CEOs of ExxonMobil and Anadarko.
"The money put into the political system by the fossil fuel industry is enormous and tilts the entire process in their favor," Bill Snape, senior counsel to the Center for Biological Diversity, told Common Dreams. "This continues to be clear in American politics, and this is true of the current administration, as well and is clearly now true with Clinton, and obviously with the entire Republican Party."