Exxon: Disclose your Lobbying
In July 2018, Exxon left the American Legislative Exchange Council, following years of pressure from nonprofits and shareholders. (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-07-12/exxon-quits-koch-backed-business-group-after-climate-change-row)
ExxonMobil should disclose its corporate lobbying expenditures. We need to be able to assess whether ExxonMobil’s lobbying is consistent with its public acceptance of climate science and support of climate action.
We encourage transparency and accountability in ExxonMobil’s use of corporate funds to influence legislation and regulation. Since 2010, ExxonMobil has spent over $94 million on federal lobbying. These figures do not include lobbying expenditures to influence legislation in states, where ExxonMobil also lobbies in 33 states (“Amid Federal Gridlock, Lobbying Rises in the States,” Center for Public Integrity, February 11, 2016), but disclosure is uneven or absent.
For example, ExxonMobil has spent over $3.6 million lobbying in California since 2010, and its lobbying on California’s cap and trade bill attracted media attention (“Businesses Spent Millions Lobbying Before Cap-and-Trade Vote,” E&E News, July 26, 2017).
ExxonMobil is a member of the American Petroleum Institute (API), Business Roundtable and National Association of Manufacturers, which together spent over $74 million on lobbying for 2015 and 2016. ExxonMobil does not disclose its memberships in, or payments to, trade associations, or the amounts used for lobbying. We are concerned that ExxonMobil’s lack of trade association lobbying disclosure presents reputational risks. For example, API and ExxonMobil have drawn scrutiny for lobbying against stricter benzene regulation (“Oil Companies Leaking Benzene Lobbied against Pollution Rules,” International Business Times, September 6, 2017).
And ExxonMobil is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and its ALEC membership has drawn media focus (“Exxon Continued Paying Millions to Climate-Change Deniers under Rex Tillerson,” Huffington Post, January 9, 2017). Over 100 companies have publicly left ALEC, including BP, ConocoPhillips and Shell.
It's time that Exxon follow its peers and commit to more transparency in its lobbying process.