Exxon has a lot of friends in Congress, but they didn’t come cheap. A study from the Public Accountability Initiative finds 13 members of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology collectively have received at least $98,270 in contributions from ExxonMobil employees and political action committees connected to the company.
Those same 13 committee members, all of them Republican, recently launched a counterinquiry into an investigation scrutinizing whether Exxon deliberately misled the public over the reality of climate change. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman launched the investigation into Exxon in November; in March he was joined by attorneys general from five other states, plus the attorney general for the Virgin Islands.
In May, the Republican members of the House science committee started their own probe into the Schneiderman investigation. In an open letter to Schneiderman, they described his inquiry as “a coordinated attempt to deprive companies, nonprofit organizations and scientists of their First Amendment rights and ability to fund and conduct scientific research free from intimidation and threats of prosecution.”