US Ethics Watchdog Probes Trump’s Dinner with Oil Executives

( – On May 9, former President Donald Trump met with top US oil executives — more than 20 — at Mar-a-Lago in April and asked them to raise $1 billion for his campaign. In exchange, the presumptive nominee allegedly told them he would reverse President Joe Biden’s environmental policies to combat climate change and halt any new ones slated to go into effect. At least one group recently said Trump may have stepped over a legal line with that pitch.

What Did They Say?

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a powerful watchdog group, told The Guardian that it is investigating whether or not Trump’s offer violated the law. CREW’s chief ethics counsel, Attorney Virginia Canter, said the organization’s team of lawyers was looking into the matter. She said they are working to determine whether “Trump’s fundraising pitch…would merit further action.” Canter noted that the “transactional nature of the meeting” between the former president and the high-powered oil executives was concerning.

House Democrats are also looking into the Mar-a-Lago dinner, with the Oversight Committee reportedly sending out nine letters to oil executives who met with Trump that day. The letter asked for details about their respective company’s participation and knowledge of any discussions or handouts associated with the alleged quid pro quo agreements. The Senate Budget Committee is also considering action. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), who also chairs the committee, told The Guardian that he saw the proposal by Trump to the oil executives as a “blatant quid pro quo.” He assured that his group was looking into ways to make sure the oil “industry cannot simply buy off politicians” at the cost of US taxpayers.

Who Else Is Under Suspicion?

Trump isn’t the only one under scrutiny. Energy executives familiar with direct knowledge claim the industry is preparing for a second Trump presidency with executive orders already crafted for him to sign on day one. The companies are reportedly focused on cutting drilling costs, securing more offshore oil leases, and increasing natural gas exports. The executives believe Trump is too busy to prepare these orders himself, so they are doing it for him to secure a swift move on the matters should he win the White House in November. The sources told the news outlet that the orders included reversals of some of Biden’s energy policies.

The fossil fuel industry has donated nearly $7.3 million to Trump’s campaign already, far exceeding its support of Biden by over $6.5 million.

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