Trump visits oil billionaires, Republican donors as part of Texas campaign stop

Trump is visiting Midland, TX today to visit an oil rig owned by Double Eagle Energy. State and federal campaign finance data show that Double Eagle executives Cody Campbell and John Sellers are major donors to Republican causes, including the Trump re-election campaign. Despite making more than a billion dollars in the oil and gas industry, the pair took federal COVID relief money.

Double Eagle is a joint venture between Cody Campbell and John Sellers and the New York-based private equity firm Apollo that acquires, sells, and drills oil and gas assets in the Permian Basin.

Campbell and Sellers are both major donors to Republican candidates, contributing nearly $1 million dollars to federal and state elections since 2017. According to FEC And TEC filings, the pair have collectively contributed:

  • $435,500 to federal candidates and PACs, including $73,700 to the Trump Campaign, and $94,300 to Senator John Cornyn; as well as
  • $446,300 to Texas state candidates and PACs, including $150,000 to Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton. 
Committee NameAmount
TRUMP VICTORY $          62,500
CORNYN MAJORITY COMMITTEE $          52,500
NRSC $          51,300
ELECT LIBERTY PAC $          50,000
TEXANS ARE $          50,000
REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE $          44,400
CORNYN MAJORITY TEXAS $          30,600
REPUBLICAN PARTY OF TEXAS $          15,600
AUGUST PFLUGER FOR CONGRESS $          11,200
DONALD J. TRUMP FOR PRESIDENT, INC. $          11,200
JOSH WINEGARNER FOR CONGRESS $            8,400
TED CRUZ VICTORY COMMITTEE $            7,700
TEXANS FOR SENATOR JOHN CORNYN INC. $            5,800
PROTECT THE HOUSE $            5,400
KEVIN MCCARTHY FOR CONGRESS $            5,400
TEXANS FOR JODEY ARRINGTON $            5,400
TEXANS FOR SENATOR JOHN CORNYN INC $            5,400
JOBS, FREEDOM, AND SECURITY PAC $            5,000
ALAMO PAC $            5,000
TED CRUZ FOR SENATE $            2,700
TOTAL 2017-2020 $        435,500

Campbell and Sellers were minted as billionaires by the sale of the original Double Eagle Energy to Parsley Energy in 2017, near the height of the fracking boom. The Double Eagle executives’ support of Trump paid off, as Trump’s dismantling of environmental protections helped fuel the fracking bubble, inflating the value of Sellers and Campbell’s company. Just as Double Eagle was looking to cash out, Trump’s EPA cut rules on ozone, methane, and other air contaminants emitted by the fracking industry. 

Double Eagle sold to Parsley for $1,395,600,000 in cash and 39,848,518 units of Parsley LLC.

Sellers and Campbell have continued to profit from Trump policies through coronavirus bailout programs, even as the fracking industry enters a terminal tail spin. Double Eagle Natural Resources, one of Campbell and Sellers’ current companies, received between $350,000 and $1 million in PPP loans from the CARES Act. This money was ostensibly meant for struggling small businesses, not billionaire fracking executives. However, a review of loan data released by the Small Business Association found that the program gave billions of dollars to oil and gas corporations, like Double Eagle, that were failing long before the Pandemic.

Campbell and Sellers’ federal contributions also far exceed those of well-known Permian Basin drilling heavyweights: 

  • Travis Stice, CEO of Diamondback Energy, contributed $22,200 to federal campaigns and PACs since 2017
  • William Thomas, CEO of EOG Resources, contributed $10,350 
  • Scott Sheffield, CEO of Pioneer Natural Resources, contributed $33,350
  • Darren Woods, CEO of XTO parent company Exxon Mobil, contributed $111,900

Trump’s visit to Texas comes amid a financial reckoning for the fracking industry and a new Dallas Morning News/University of Texas poll that showed Biden with a five point lead over Trump among Texas registered voters. 

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