Oil Execs on Trump’s “Opening the Country Council” Lost Millions for Shareholders, Spent Millions on Politics and Lobbying

On April 14, 2020, President Trump named almost 200 corporate executives and republican insiders to an advisory council on the coronavirus. The council is set to advise Trump on when and how to re-open the economy, and gives its members a formal role in advising economic policy. Trump described their role this way:

“These bipartisan groups of American leaders will work together with the White House to chart the path forward toward a future of unparalleled American prosperity…

I think, the best and the smartest, the brightest, and they’re going to give us some ideas.”

Eight oil and gas executives were named to the “Energy” section of the committee. However, an analysis of stock prices finds that these companies were losing investor money before the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Far from “the best, the smartest, the brightest,” these executives diminished the value of their companies by an average 7.29% from 2015-2019. 

In spite of decreasing shareholder value, oil and gas group executives made over $4.2 million in political contributions since Trump announced his candidacy in June of 2015. The largest single recipient of those funds was the Trump Victory Committee. 

Further analysis of recently filed political spending data finds ongoing political contributions, even once coronavirus arrived in the US on January 20th. The major beneficiary of contributions in that time period was the National Republican Congressional Committee, which received $245,000 since February.

Trump Era Giving By Economic Revival Team Oil and Gas Group

The 8 Oil and Gas executives selected to the “Great American Economic Revival Industry Group” have, together, made $4,267,988 in political contributions since Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president in June of 2015. Nearly all of this spending has gone to republicans. 

Top 5 recipients from O&G group CEOs 6/1/2015 – 4/21/20:

TRUMP VICTORY$619,400
AMERICA FIRST ACTION, INC.$500,000
NRSC$410,900
NRCC$407,400
TEAM RYAN$383,800
REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE$207,600

The largest contributor to politics was Harold Hamm, who has given $1,770,200 to Federal campaigns. 

All Federal Contributions by O&G CEOs since 6/1/2015-4/21/20:

Harold Hamm$1,770,200
John Hess$1,707,841.38
Ryan Lance$264,580
Mike Wirth$171,307.8
Darren Woods$123,556.66
Joe Gorder$98,300
Vicki Hollub$81,652.53
Steven Kean$50,550

O&G Group Stock Prices

Almost all of the fossil corporations involved in the Economic Revival Group have failed to grow their stock price over the last 5 years. In fact, the average stock price of these 8 companies fell 7.29% from 2015-2019. 

Company2015-2019 Stock Performance
Exxon-24.83%
Chevron7.04%
Occidental Petroleum-48.90%
Continental Resources Inc.*-11.58%
ConocoPhillips-5.64%
Kinder Morgan-50.55%
Valero86.03%
Hess-9.89%
AVERAGE-7.29%

The inclusion of major campaign donors, like Harold Hamm, indicates that political spending played a role in the selection process for the Economic Revival Group. Harold Hamm and John Hess represent the smallest corporations in Trump’s group. Hess and Continental are less than 1/10th the size of ExxonMobil. However, Hess and Hamm top the list of political contributors. 

Major Donors from O&G Group companies giving since 1/20/20 (as of 4/21/20)

Executives and major donors (giving over $2000) from oil and gas Group corporations, including CEOs, gave $452,872 in political spending since 1/20/20, the date in which the US confirmed cases of coronavirus in the US. 

Top 6 recipients from O&G group major donors since 1/20/20-4/21/20

NRCC$245,000
CORNYN MAJORITY TEXAS$73,300
NRSC$35,500
REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE$25,000
MCCONNELL FOR MAJORITY LEADER COMMITTEE$14,000
TRUMP VICTORY$10,000

In spite of the oil industry collapse, large donations have continued to flow from oil executives. Examples include:

  • On February 20, Stephen Chazen, chairman of Occidental, gave $209,500 to the National Republican Congressional Committee. 
  • On January 28, Kinder Morgan Executive Chairman Richard Kinder gave $50,500 to Cornyn Majority Texas. 
  • On March 23rd, Mike Wirth, Chairman and CEO of Chevron, gave $5,600 to the Mitch Mcconnell for Majority Leader Committee.

Federal Contributions by O&G Group corporation since 1/20/20

OCCIDENTAL PETROLEUM CORP$247,800
CHEVRON$81,100
KINDER MORGAN, INC.$50,500
CONOCOPHILLIPS$18,400
EXXONMOBIL$17,800
KINDER MORGAN$5,600
HESS CORPORATION$5,000
VALERO ENERGY CORPORATION$3,500

Lobbying Spending Q1 2020

Since the 1st of January, oil and gas corporations named to Trump’s Economic Task Force have spent $9,090,000 in lobbying. 

TASK FORCE COMPANY
Political Contributions 1/20-4/21Lobbying Spending 1/1-3/31
CHEVRON$81,100$3,320,000
CONOCOPHILLIPS$18,400$2,340,000
EXXONMOBIL$17,800$2,840,000
HESS CORPORATION$5,000$140,000
KINDER MORGAN$56,100$50,000
OCCIDENTAL PETROLEUM CORP$247,800​$2,300,000
VALERO ENERGY CORPORATION$3,500$400,000
CONTINENTAL$0$0
TOTAL$429,700$9,090,000

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