Hillary Clinton Says Six Figures in Fossil Fuel Contributions Is ‘Not Very Much’

by Jill Pape

February 4, 2016

A presidential candidate just said she believes receiving $150,000 from the fossil fuel industry is "not very much" money. But what will her supporters think?

Secretary Hillary Clinton

Photo by Brett Weinstein / Flickr. Creative Commons.

Brett Weinstein

At a recent campaign event, Hillary Clinton made a questionable statement about her ties to the fossil fuel industry. When pressed by a 350 Action supporter about why her campaign had received $150,000 from fossil fuel interests, she said, “When you’ve raised $120 million, $150,000 is not very much.”

If your reaction to the idea of $150,000 from fossil fuel interests not being much is ‘sorry, WHAT?’ you are not alone.

With this year’s primary season off to a heated start, campaign finance has become a bigger issue than ever among voters. Unsurprisingly, this year’s GOP candidates have received huge contributions from the fossil fuel industry. Despite those donations, Republican candidates still debate money in politics on the main stage with former reality television star Donald Trump claiming that his billionaire status means he cannot be bought.

On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders has sworn off fossil fuel money completely, helping him win the trust of many younger voters, while Hillary Clinton has yet to make up her mind on whether to reject fossil fuel contributions.

Hillary has spoken out passionately about money in politics — in a recent town hall she talked about how Republican candidates deny climate science because of pressure from the Koch brothers and fossil fuel interests, who donate to their campaigns. But this begs the question, why won’t she say no to fossil fuel money herself?

The Clinton campaign knows that Hillary’s supporters care about climate change. That’s why earlier this week, when confronted by another activist from 350 Action, Hillary said that instead of rejecting fossil fuel money, she was going to “pledge to stop fossil fuels” — immediately adding, “and that’s a lot better!”

But Hillary may quickly find that stopping this greedy industry is much harder when companies like Exxon are contributing to your presidential campaign.

It’s great that Hillary has been so vocal about taking down fossil fuels. But until she rejects money from the fracking industry, big oil, and other fossil fuel interests, how will she make voters believe that she means business?

Soon after claiming that she would “stop fossil fuels” if elected, Hillary admitted that she would not ban fracking as president. The fracking industry, it should be noted, donates more to her campaign than any other fossil fuel interest.

Hillary has a lot to gain by pledging to reject contributions from the fossil fuel industry. And hey, if $150,000 isn’t that much to her campaign, it won’t be that hard to let go of, right?

At the end of the day, electing a president should be about finding the person who best represents the interests of the people.

If you want to see a 2016 election cycle that’s free from the influence of fossil fuel interests, ask this year’s candidates to sign the pledge to fix democracy.

Jill Pape

By Jill Pape

Jill is an Online Campaigner at Greenpeace USA. She works on engagement and mobilization — giving supporters opportunities to take action and become environmental leaders.

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